By Isaac Cohen*
The annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were held last week, next to the White House in Washington DC, amidst concern about the world economy. The Fund revised downwards the global growth projections, presented in the World Economic Outlook, from 3.2 percent in April to 3.1 percent for this year. The gathering expressed concern about slow global growth and stagnant world trade. However, to avoid the impression that they were meddling in domestic affairs, the participating ministers and central bankers addressed only indirectly the protectionist temptations emanating from the political campaign in the United States and the negotiations for British separation from the European Union.
The task of transmitting this alert, against the risk of falling into a downward spiral of low growth and protectionism, was assumed by the executive heads of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, in an extraordinary op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, during the annual meetings on October 5. They recognize that many feel left behind, due to lost jobs and stagnant wages, caused by trade or technology. Therefore, they propose the adoption of adjustment policies and programs to transform trade into an engine of growth for all, in their own terms “to make trade work for everyone.”
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio. Former Director, UNECLAC.