The Gaidar Forum-2019: Alexander Knobel Took Part in the Discussion of New Realities in the Context of Sanctions and Trade Wars

On 16 January, within the framework of the Gaidar Forum-2019 Alexander Knobel, Head of the International Trade Department took part in the panel discussion: “Sanctions and Trade Wars. A New Reality”.  

Experts discussed the following issues: do sanctions mean a war of extermination  or total restructuring of economic relations and unions, are they the instruments of a  targeted  attack on businessmen and politicians or the economy and society as a whole;  are there prospects of a harmonized development of Russia with all the partners on  an equal footing; is Europe able to become the center of technological transfer and development for Russian non-oil and gas companies; is it possible to benefit from sanctions.

In his report, Alexander Knobel stressed that in the past three-four years the crisis of the multilateral trade system was originally  triggered by global structural changes of the past two decades, rather than sanctions. “From the end of the 20th century, developing countries have started to catch up with developed ones. The emerging economies are becoming a source of foreign investments.  With the VAT trade largely grown, the economy has become more interrelated on the back of distributed industries. However, that model used to work under international trade rules adopted by developed countries at the end of the 20th century.  But the weight of the developing world has largely changed and there is a request for the rules to be changed, however, this demand has not been met yet.  As a result, the situation has given rise to the crisis of the global trade system and unequal distribution of benefits from liberalization between economic actors”.

According to experts, this crisis of the trade system cannot but affect the WTO. But taking into account the fact that the WTO as a system of arrangements resembles a crucial network utility of a building, nobody is interested in destroying it, but adjusts it to its own needs. As a result, “the negotiating process has gone beyond negotiations at the table, so, trade conflicts began”.