Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has used the last day of the World Economic Forum in Davos to warn of the risks the world faces from engaging in a “race to the bottom” on taxes, regulation and trade.
In a direct reference to some of incoming US President Donald Trump’s expected policies, Ms Lagarde said that major cuts in those three areas could have “devastating effects” on global economies this year.
“If the disruptions we are expecting for 2017 as a result of what has happened in 2016 prove to be all negative and we are to end up in a race to the bottom on the tax front, on the trade front and on the financial regulation front, then that for me would be a really big black swan that would have devastating effects for countries other than those that are likely to cause it,” she said.
During his presidential campaign, Mr Trump announced that financial reforms put in place in the wake of the 2007-2009 global financial crisis were hurting the economy and that he would dismantle the majority of them if he came into office.
He has also implied that he will introduce major tax cuts and take a harsher stance when negotiating gobal trade deals.
Ms Lagarde is not the first delegate of this year’s conference to issue a warning in a direct nod to Mr Trump.
Earlier in the week Chinese President Xi Jinping used his speech, during the opening plenary session of the summit, to spurn protectionism, but also warn that there’s “no point” blaming the world’s problems solely on globalisation.
Ms Lagarde has appeared on several panels at the WEF event this year.
In a speech on Thursday she addressed the issue of the UK’s separation from the European Union and said that the split will not be ”without pain“.
Any Brexit trade deal that the UK strikes with Brussels was unlikely to be as good as the current arrangements enjoyed as part of the single market, the former French finance minister said.
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