On 9 July 2020, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) hosted an online roundtable discussion with the title The Future of Globalisation after COVID-19. Professor Xu Mingqi, Director of the European Studies Centre at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and Mr. Péter Goreczky, senior analyst of IFAT were participating as panellists. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Tamás Péter Baranyi, Deputy Director for Strategy of IFAT.
Professor Xu Mingqui emphasised that the global economy was hit hard by the pandemic and recovery can be achieved only through multilateral cooperation. A good example for that is the development of the COVID-19 vaccine which requires international collaboration. At the same time, he underlined that economic distancing and the lack of cooperation emerged already before the pandemic which is a matter of concern. National security receives increasing attention in case of certain industries and products which makes the dialogue difficult. However, laying down the foundations of economic rules in the post-COVID era requires looking beyond certain interests and developing bilateral trade and investment.
Mr. Péter Goreczky highlighted that certain countries and regions try to position themselves for the post-COVID world by concentrating on industries and technology development that have a huge potential even during the crisis. Regarding the global and regional supply chains he underlined that substantial changes were already ongoing before the outbreak due to technology development. Industry 4.0 related new technologies are expected to improve visibility, flexibility and resilience of supply chains. The importance of these characteristics was spectacularly highlighted by the pandemic itself. Regarding China he emphasised that in spite of the experiences of the pandemic, it is reasonable for a number of multinationals to maintain manufacturing in China, partly due to cost considerations and partly due to the attractive local market.
The two experts agreed that the immediate reform of the WTO is unrealistic because of the pandemic, however, the organisation should play a major role in settling tensions around international trade. Regarding the Belt and Road Initiative, both panelists emphasised that sustainability considerations could receive more attention as a result of the crisis. As for the economic relations of Hungary and China, it was declared that mutual cooperation is required to enhance bilateral trade.
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