6 | BUSINESS AND SOCIETY
ne potential casualty of the
populist shift is global,
'win-win' trade deals.
President Trump's 'America First'
agenda casts trade as a zero-sum
game in which the US will succeed
at the expense of others; he believes
that bilateral negotiations will allow
him to use his skills to get a better
deal for America.
This stance is recasting the established international
order - he has already pulled out of the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (which promised to dismantle trade
barriers with Asia) paving the way for China to
exert greater authority in the region.
Next up could be the EU-US Transatlantic Trade
and Investment Partnership (which his trade team
has declared 'finished'), while he has also pledged
to renegotiate NAFTA. The future of the Trade in
Services Agreement - which covers 70 per cent of
the world market - is equally uncertain, though it
holds fewer direct consequences for blue-collar jobs.
And his decision to hand China hawk Peter Navarro
and Robert Lighthizer - a prominent advocate of
protectionism - key roles on his trade team is further
evidence that the world's biggest economy intends
to do things its own way from now on.
The changing mood is not confined to the US.
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade
Agreement (CETA) only just survived a tussle with
Wallonia after its parliament raised concerns that the
deal would erode labour, environmental and consumer
safeguards. The ECJ advocate general's argument that
the forthcoming EU-Singapore trade agreement should
be ratified by national parliaments rather than the
EU's institutions means such challenges are likely
to be more common from now on.
The influence of politics is extending into M&A
activity. Even in China, whose president recently
pledged to uphold global trade and investment,
the ruling party has introduced measures to curb
domestic companies' outbound acquisitions in a bid
to control capital flight. Governments across the
world are expected to take a more direct role in
antitrust enforcement and public interest review in
certain strategic or sensitive sectors, including those
In times of rising
are more optimistic
and can better
tolerate rapid change. O
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