The global economy is facing a threat of a spiraling protectionist measures that can lead to a devastating crisis, Vladimir Putin warned. Nations must find a way to prevent this and establish rules on how the economy should work.
The Russian president spoke out against the growing trend of using unilateral restrictions to achieve economic advantage, as he addressed guests of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday.
“The system of multilateral cooperation, which took years to build, is no longer allowed to evolve. It is being broken in a very crude way. Breaking the rules is becoming the new rule,” he said.
In addition to traditional forms of protectionism such as trade tariffs, technical standards and subsidies, nations are increasingly using new ways to undermine their competition, like unilateral economic sanctions. And nations which thought they would never be targeted by such measures for political reasons are now being proved wrong, Putin said.
“The ability to impose sanctions arbitrarily and with no control fosters a temptation to use such restrictive tools again and again, right and left, in every case, regardless of political loyalty, talks about solidarity, past agreements and long cooperation,” he said.
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Putin called for a change of course, for free trade to be defended, and for rules-based regulation of the global economy, which would alleviate the chaos resulting from the rapid technological transformations arising from the development of digital technology.
“The disregard for existing norms and a loss of trust may combine with the unpredictability and turbulence of the colossal…