Commercial tensions and growing political uncertainty are leading companies to look back at their national markets, as revealed the survey of managers of PwC presented earlier in the week in Davos. A trend that, if maintained, can have a severe impact on globalization. "The firm march we have seen in the last 40 years towards a growing globalization is encountering some political obstacles. Only time will tell if they are permanent or temporary, "warned the consultant. "Although most executives still believe mostly in globalization, they seem less interested in growth plans outside of their national markets. In fact, organizations are returning to their local markets to grow, "admitted its world president, Bob Moritz.
In fact, Citigroup's global chief economist, Catherine Mann, believes that the change has already taken place. "Globalization has already suffered a slowdown. If we measure it through global integration-understood as the sum of exports and imports over GDP-that ratio has been stagnant for 10 years and global value chains, in which several countries intervene to produce a product, have already suffered a severe setback and Trade wars – the one between the US and China and the latent war between the US and the European Union– They only made it worse. But it had already begun before, "Mann said at a meeting held this week on the fringes of the World Economic Forum.
A statement with which other experts, such as Arancha González, director of the International Trade Center, disagree. "The truth is that our statistics do not know how to really measure 21st century trade. Trade today is mainly about services and cross-border and we do not know how to measure it well, "he stresses.
But executives meeting in Davos, most of them at the head of multinational companies, do seem to feel the slowdown in integration. "Globalization is taking a break, a downtime, especially in developed countries. But I think it will be temporary, only to correct itself, "said Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western Union on a Forum panel on Friday. Although "the current protectionist environment does not help at all to companies that have activity in various countries," he admitted.
For Mann, the greatest risk is that trade wars will limit cross-border investment, which will cause an immediate deterioration of the global economy. "The alternative is to promote commercial agreements that increase integration. Trade wars are a consequence of the brake on globalization, "said the Citigroup economist. "Services represent between 60% and 70% of production, employment and consumption worldwide. From the euro, there has been no agreement to open cross-border services and that should be the future, "he concluded.