May 10, 2022
In a time of unprecedented change, businesses have an opportunity to innovate and shape the world by participating in the global economy. COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and supply chain disruptions are just a few of the major issues impacting business on an international level in 2022.
To start a conversation with the business community, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted its second virtual Global Forum featuring speakers from across the globe. On day one of this two-day event, government officials and business leaders spoke about pressing global issues and their impact on businesses, including international partnerships, current geostrategic risks, and the global trade landscape. Here are four key takeaways from the first day’s programming.
Africa Is Making Its Way as an Economic Power
Keynote speaker, His Excellency Macky Sall, the President of the Republic of Senegal, discussed Africa’s view and role in the global economy. Sall advocated for foreign countries to become trade partners with other African countries.
“We're 30 million square kilometers of land, more than 1 billion and 300 million inhabitants, and enormous natural resources along with its development needs,” said Sall.
With all these natural resources, Africa would be a vital trade partner for any country, Sall stressed. As the continent continues to grow, there are plenty of opportunities for countries to form cooperative relationships.
“Africa represents an opportunity for growth for the whole world,” Sall continued. “Every investment in the continent generates more activity, more jobs, and shared prosperity. The main challenge is to reinvent relationships with Africa and to establish bonds of trust based on reciprocal, respect, and mutually beneficial advantages.”
The U.S. and EU Are Promoting Technology Policies
In her keynote address, the Honorable Gina Raimondo, United States Secretary of Commerce, discussed how her department is improving America's competitiveness so workers and companies can succeed in the global economy.
One of these improvements is the establishment of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC), a cross-continental partnership setting the rules of the road for technology in accordance with democratic values. The council is specifically looking to update and align U.S. standards for advancements such as cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
“We're shaping policies in areas like data governance and competition,” said Raimondo. “We're supporting transatlantic supply chains and delivering for people and businesses in our countries. TTC’s work will help American businesses access markets, reach new consumers, create new jobs at home, and ensure that Europe's policies don't impede U.S. competitiveness.”
Economic Sanctions Will Help End the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
One of the most pressing global issues is the war between Russia and Ukraine. The United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia, which have impacted the country’s economy and kept Russian business owners from participating in global commerce.
Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr., Vice Chair of Policy for the Ford Motor Company, believes that these sanctions will pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s need to participate in the global economy will put political pressure on those in charge to change the course of action, he said.
“Russia cannot live in total isolation – [it is] way more connected to the global markets of the world [and] … the major markets of Europe,” he explained. “People are engaged, they're entrepreneurs, they do business. They rely on free flow of commerce and financial transactions. When that isn't the case, the people are going to take to the streets … and it's trouble for Putin.”
Closed Trade Borders Hurt the Global Economy
To gain a CEO’s perspective on competition in global trade lanes, David W. MacLennan, CEO of Cargill, shared how closing trade borders can hurt the food industry. MacLennan warns that using trade as a means of geopolitical leverage could harm the economy and those who need access to the products, just as he saw happen in his sector.
“One of my concerns is that as we see geopolitics play out around the world, we go away from the globalized food system that we've taken,” said MacLennan. “Food should never be used as a weapon
“In the past recent years, there have been trade embargoes [and] there have been trade wars … between the U.S. and China,” he continued. “That is not good for the long-term resilience and viability of the food supply system and of ensuring that those that need to get fed do get fed.”
Other featured panels from day one of the 2022 Global Forum include a conversation between Her Excellency Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large of Singapore, and Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group, on today’s biggest geostrategic risks; and a discussion about the global trade landscape between Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP, the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, United Kingdom; Gan Kim Yong, the Minister of Trade & Industry for Singapore; and Ryan Heath, Senior Editor at Politico.
From the Series
- Suzanne P. Clark: How Global Events Have Impacted the Free Enterprise System
- Promoting a Successful Global Economy Through U.S. Competitiveness
- Opportunities for Cooperative Foreign Trade Between the U.S. and Africa
- Understanding Geostrategic Risks in the Global Landscape of 2022
- Jon Huntsman, Jr.: How the Geopolitical Landscape Has Impacted Businesses Worldwide
- Navigating the British and Indo-Pacific Trade Landscape in 2022
- Cargill CEO: How Sustainable Agriculture Can Prevent a Global Food Crisis