UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – The United Nations warned Monday (Jan 21) that trade disputes, climate change and a me-first attitude to addressing global problems were threatening prospects for world economic growth.
The global economy is expected to continue growing at a steady pace of around 3 per cent in 2019 and 2020 but there are signs the expansion has peaked, according to the UN’s annual report on the world economic situation and prospects.
Economic growth is uneven and is often failing to reach where it is most needed, said the report released by the UN department of economic and social affairs.
UN chief economist Elliot Harris said trade disputes showed a loss of support for multilateral approaches and were putting at risk prospects for a global response to possible future economic shocks.
“What we see happening is a growing tendency to look out for one’s self first instead of staying with that framework of collaborative and cooperative action,” Harris told a news conference.
Trade relations between the United States and China soured last year after President Donald Trump imposed new tariffs on Chinese imports and the United States has re-negotiated a trade deal with Canada and Mexico.
On climate, Harris said the transition to sustainable economies was “not happening fast enough” and stressed the need to “de-link economic growth from economic degradation.”
Once considered a long-term challenge, climate change is now presenting “short-term risks,” he said, pointing to extreme weather and environmental disasters that have severely damaged economies. The UN is forecasting a drop in US growth from 2.5 per cent in 2019 to 2 per cent in 2020 as the impulse from fiscal stimulus weakens.
In the European Union, growth will remain steady at 2 per cent although there are risks of a slowdown from a potential fallout from Brexit, said the report. China’s growth is forecasted at 6.3 percent in 2019, down from 6.6 percent in 2018, while Brazil, Nigeria and Russia are projected to have a moderate pickup of growth.