The SDGs investment gap, climate and trade war: Risks of populist move

This morning the perfect weather with a sunny day, I came across the digital portals around climate, food, governance and area of my interest. Series of news and views analysis on climate severity referring to the US president’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement 2015 hit the mind vigorously. The Paris Agreement is a global commitment to keep global warming below 1.5cc. Trade war (between the US and China) has polarised global economy and politics too. In the mean a video of an appealing issue raised by a member of parliament of Nepal (Radheshyam Adhikari) referring skyrocketing food prices in the Nepalese market from which farmers have not been benefitted. While pondering around the issues, it is serious to think whether the global commitment “leave no one behind” is achieved by alleviating poverty (Sustainable Development Goals- 1) and ending hunger (Sustainable Development Goals- 2) by 2030. Of course, the damaged climate due to human’s inhuman activities truly affects negatively on agriculture and livelihood of smallholders. Also, achieving development goals are not possible without investment. According to the United Nation, there is still US$ 2-4 trillion per annum investment gap to achieve SDGs need to make sure who is going to fund the investment gap to make the SDGs a real global agenda. Total US$ 5-7 trillion per annum is needed to achieve the SDGs and only US$ 3 trillion commitment has been received from the various reliable sources.

While roaming around the world it is interesting to mention about the decision taken by Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, to hold off on signing the agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which was biggest trade deal in the world agreed by the 15 members of the region in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok. The ASEAN comprises the member of 16 nations including India. Because, according to Modi, the Asian trade deal was not in favour of India. So, He decided not to cooperate with the deal.

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Moreover, the attention was dragged by the analysis around the TRADE WAR between the US and China and to roll back tariffs on each other’s goods. As the decision was commented by the Time digital magazine as “Trump Gave China a Win on Trade in Southeast Asia”. The decision to roll back tariff on each other’s good came after the World Trade Organisation (WTO) permitted China to impose up to 3.6 billion tariffs on the US products. Here is how a conclusion has been made that the US is going to lose the battle. However, China’s reluctance to commit to a specific amount of farm purchases remains a sticking point in the talks, as is U.S. reluctance to roll back tariffs. “President Donald Trump had not yet agreed to remove any tariffs as part of a deal, and the size of China’s commitment to purchase US farm products was not yet clear. The world’s largest economies have been involved in a tit-for-tat trade war that is dragging on global growth.” The tariff was imposed first by the US on Chinese production. As a reaction, China imposed a retaliatory tariff on the US’s production and put formal complaint/dispute to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against tariff imposition of Trump administration in line with the WTO’s rule.

The global severe problem like poverty, inequality and climate change are, no doubt, a consequence of modernisation, the system has been believed in and implemented since along. No one can achieve those targets from single efforts. To save our common home, the earth, is only possible by the global spirit of all nations. This is a true source of fulfilling the investment gap to achieve any global agenda.

Jagadish | INCOMESCO, 2019

The tariff diplomacy can be considered in line with the view of Nobel laureate Professor Joseph Stiglitz in his bestseller Globalisation and its Discontents as, a move of rich nation by “pushing poor countries to eliminate trade barriers by keeping their own barriers as it is and preventing developing countries from exporting their agricultural products into advanced market.” This is a clear message of monopolised action in the name of globalisation.

Meanwhile, China cautiously unveiled a mask in support of the global market. Chinese President Xi Jinping defended the globalisation and Xi’s speech sent out a signal that China stands for an open global economy in the current populist move of rising protectionism. Xi’s speech was understood widely as “a comprehensive and balanced address” for the benefit of global spirit whereas President Trump’s move against the Paris Agreement was viewed as a “disappointment” of moving backwards from the global spirit. It does not mean the US is losing everything but also it means China has come to support the global economy and free trade. It might be a good consequence for the west to counter the rising Russian power during President Vladimir Putin’s era from the support of China to the spirit of the global village. Also, managing global rule and power by ignoring emerging economic power is not easy for anyone. And, there is no point to advocate a single dominance in the global market but must support togetherness, harmony and power-sharing approach for the interest of the global population. Is China really defending globalisation to promote global interest in the future? Indeed, China is mostly benefitted during the globalised era.

It would be better requoting Jim O’Neill here and his sentences from the Growth Map written by him. He coined the term BRIC ( a regional cooperation organisation includes Brazil, Russia, India and China) first and predicted that China would be the first largest economy in the world, the USA second and India the third by 2035. The BRICs (the S stands for South Africa which joined the BRIC in 2012) would be the most powerful bloc by 2050. So, it is obvious to view a pattern of global growth (wealth and power) whether the predictions would be closed to the reality of future global power shift.

Besides, here is some institutional evidence to understand the global economic pattern and prosperity. According to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) the global output growth (GOG) for the five years period of 2013-18, China occupied 28 per cent whereas the share of the USA was 12 and India 12 per cent. In another prediction of IMF for the period of 2019-24, China will remain the same 28 per cent and India 15 and the USA 10 per cent. Here is the real scenario where global power is being tilted.

Finally, the global power balance is essential to ‘leave no one behind’ by achieving SDGs targets. The global severe problem like poverty, inequality and climate change are, no doubt, a consequence of modernisation, the system has been believed in and implemented since along. No one can achieve those targets from single efforts. To save our common home, the earth, is only possible by the global spirit of all nations. This is a true source of fulfilling the investment gap to achieve any global agenda.

Feature Image: Financial Time

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