A Word from the Founding Chairman

Gil Rémillard

Founding Chairman,

International Economic Forum of the Americas

In addition to the current US-China trade war, a currency war may now be looming. This should come as no a surprise. Since the yuan slid below
the symbolic 7-per-dollar threshold last August, against accusations of manipulation by President Trump, global financial markets have been more active, heightening confusion among the world’s economies, which are showing clear signs of a slowdown. How will this sensitive situation play out? On the eve of the G7 meeting in Biarritz, the central banks seem to be
acting in a responsible and independent manner by lowering interest rates, each at its own pace. It’s now up to the heads of state to make the necessary compromises to implement a new kind of globalization. However, the
decisive moment could probably come in November. Where will the US-China trade war be roughly one year out from the US elections, when the players will be, on the one hand, an American president in campaign mode and, on the other, a Chinese president dealing with a significant economic slowdown and the extremely delicate situation in Hong Kong?
We are at a crossroads. This explosive situation may not bring about another recession, but could instead bring about a new era of development and prosperity for the entire planet. However, the spectre of the Great Depression
is looming, and the current volatile geopolitical context is leaving less and less room to manoeuvre to avoid a worst case scenario.
History also reminds us that the current context is similar to that of the late 19th and early 20th century. However, today, some 75 years after the Bretton Woods Agreements and the first era of globalization, after the revolutions in energy and communications – and especially in technology, with the spread of AI – we have an increasingly inter-connected world. It may be true that, as it was in 1914 and 1939, the rise of protectionism and populism is there to warn us. However, as shown by the articles in this issue of IEFA Magazine, the
drive to create a more just and inclusive world is also apparent in every corner of the world. This drive is powered by a digital revolution that provides more high-quality, more accessible and more widely available knowledge than
anyone could have dreamed of, even just a few years ago. Fifty years after the first man walked on the moon, humanity as a whole is in a period of profound transition. Our biggest challenge will be to grasp every aspect of the changing situations we face, and deal with them in such a way that everyone on this climate-threatened planet benefits. This is the goal of the International Economic Forum of the Americas and its 4 events. While it may be true that we come from different “trees”, today we see that our roots are increasingly intermingled, which makes the forest better able to withstand the rough winds of change.

But, we still need to watch out for tornadoes!