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Bloomberg hosts exclusive virtual round table on the post-COVID recovery agenda


Bloomberg hosted an exclusive virtual round table with over 30 global executives coming together to discuss the recovery agenda post COVID-19 with Dorte Bech Vizard, Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore; Richard Verma, former Ambassador of the USA to India & Vice Chair of The Asia Group; Lord Peter Mandelson, Chairman of Global Counsel and Kishore Mahbubani, former United Nations Security Council Chair.

The discussion, which brought forward perspectives from experienced policy practitioners and experts, delved into the path to recovery for the global economy and issues that global economic superpowers are facing, the need for international collaboration, and Asia’s role in a global recovery.

Challenges on the road to recovery

Talking about Denmark’s response to the crisis, Ambassador Vizard said, “while we didn’t have full knowledge of the pandemic in the initial days, we knew we had to act fast on three objectives – to save lives, to avoid collapse of the country’s healthcare system and to limit (the) negative impact on the overall economy.” In her view, one of the biggest concerns ahead will be the disruption of global supply chains, and how smaller nations like Denmark and Singapore will cope.

Outlining key concerns from an American perspective, Mr. Verma said, “It will be crucial to see if we can reopen without a significant further downside, how our 2020 politics will shape our economic and public health response, and what the shape of the US recovery will be. The three other big things to watch will be the next chapter in US-China relations; the diversification of the global supply chain away from not only from China, but also from Asia; and who will lead the global recovery.”

Lord Mandelson eloquently summed up his views on the key themes emerging from the crisis as a combination of ‘three Rs – Respite, Recovery and Resilience’. “Most importantly, we must do all that we can to manage the Respite from the ravages of the crisis; then manage the Recovery – how governments will phase out their support and how they will deal with the financial fallout. Finally, it will all depend on Resilience and the lessons learnt – whether governments will invest in infrastructure to prepare for future pandemics.”

Call for international collaboration

Calling for international collaboration to fight the crisis and the pandemic, Mr. Mahbubani  said, “COVID-19 is a common enemy for the entire world, and so we must work together to fight it; but the opposite has happened at a time when the world needs a high degree of cooperation. President Trump’s anti-China rhetoric will only get stronger as we go deeper in to 2020, and a miracle cure looks impossible.”

Listing out some key concerns, and echoing the call for global collaboration, Lord Mandelson said, “Socioeconomic inequalities that were deepened by the unequal impact of globalization have now been deeply exacerbated by the pandemic; concerns about environmental damage and the health of the planet and the severe weakening of the rules-based international system of multilaterals and the appalling lack of global partnership and collaboration are my biggest worries stemming from the pandemic.”

“The crisis has underscored how much we need international collaboration, without which the crisis will drag on. It is imperative to revitalize multilateral and global agencies to ensure that the world economy gets back on track,” said Ambassador Vizard

An Asia-led recovery?

Given how Asia seems to have dealt with the pandemic earlier and some argue better, Mr. Verma said he was confident that the world will see a recovery led by the region, while adding that a lot will depend on the outcome of the elections in the United States when it comes to the way forward for global politics.

“It is very clear that the first country to develop in a significant way will be China, and that will have a significant impact on the ASEAN region and its immediate neighbors,” said Mr. Mahbubani, however adding that a quick recovery could hinge on the US and China pausing their hostilities and agreeing to work together to address COVID-19.

The Bloomberg ‘Future of Finance‘ series features in-depth conversations with global thought leaders on investing, policy, economics and technology.

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