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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 9, 2019
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Global tensions, local impact

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The annual Global Risks Report of the World Economic Forum said the world is evolving into “a period of divergence following a period of globalization.” A “darkening economic outlook, in part fostered by geopolitical tensions between the United States and China, looks set to further reduce the potential for cooperation in 2019.”

International tensions and nationalist politics can further weigh on the global economy this year and hinder efforts to deal with big issues such as climate change, the organizers of the Davos forum warned.

The report, which is based on the views of around 1,000 experts and decision-makers from around the world, found that 88 percent of respondents expect a “further erosion” of global trading rules and agreements that will hold back growth.

“With global trade and economic growth at risk in 2019, there is a more urgent need than ever to renew the architecture of international cooperation,” said Borge Brende, president of the WEF which hosts an annual gathering of business and political leaders in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

Key issues are US-China relations, especially the standoff between the powers that has led to both sides imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions worth of goods. Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union will be another key issue after British lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected the Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May had negotiated with the EU.

One area the WEF identified as being affected by the more fractured geopolitical environment is the need to modernize critical infrastructure projects around the world, such as roads, bridges and power networks firstly and foremost to avoid accidents such as the collapse of a bridge in Genoa, Italy, last summer that killed 43 people.

As global leaders and decision makers worry over the impact of global tensions, our leaders and policy makers will also need to account for those factors as they navigate the country through unstable times in order to avoid making decisions based on wrong assumptions, especially when those decisions affect the lives of an entire nation. Our government’s experience in its mishandling of the ill-timed TRAIN law is hopefully not repeated as it prepares to roll out more reforms that could make either make life better or worse for Filipinos, depending on how they read global sentiments and tensions that could have significant effects on their plans if the wrong assumptions are made once again.*


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