09 May 2017 – The Makati Business Club (MBC), in partnership with the Australian Embassy and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), held an MBC Conversations session today on creating a more competitive Philippine economy in the context of globalization and regionalization. Mr. Mark Thirlwell, chief economist of Austrade and the event’s resource person, provided his expert assessment on the global economy, the challenges and uncertainties created by recent geopolitical developments.

“We had a series of political shocks over the past year. Global politics dominated global economy.” Referring to “Brexit” and the result of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, Mr. Thirlwell adds, “As a result of those shocks, there is now a higher level of uncertainty in global economic policies – a level of uncertainty we have not seen in the past two decades.” On the other hand, he noted that the global financial markets are still sanguine.

On global trade, Mr. Thirlwell believes that after the steady rise of globalization between 1980s and 2008, global trade has since peaked out. Even global value chains participation shows signs of peaking. During the globalization period, tariff rates have been reduced and currently have flat-lined. But non-trade barriers have gone up. “We are liberalizing and simultaneously restricting trade,” Mr. Thirlwell said. “ASEAN fits this pattern where, over the years, intra-regional tariff rates have gone down or have been removed, but a number of non-tariff measures have come into force.”

To read the highlights of Mr. Thirlwell’s talk and presentation, click here