Michael Bloomberg backs global trade to combat poverty

Special Michael Bloomberg backs global trade to combat poverty
Michael Bloomberg is considering candidacy in the 2020 presidential election, it has been reported in New York. (Getty Images)
Updated 19 September 2018

Michael Bloomberg backs global trade to combat poverty

Michael Bloomberg backs global trade to combat poverty
  • Michael Bloomberg: Trade has cut poverty throughout the world and it is one of the most powerful tools for fighting poverty
  • Bloomberg’s stance is in stark contrast to that of US President Donald Trump, who believes that the world trade system is unfair to his country

NEW YORK: Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media entrepreneur and philanthropist, launched a strong defense of the global trade system as reports surfaced that he was considering possible candidacy in the presidential election of 2020.
“Washington is an impediment to global trade at the moment, but I hope that it can get back to normal. Trade has cut poverty throughout the world and it is one of the most powerful tools for fighting poverty,” he told journalists at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.
His stance is in stark contrast to that of US President Donald Trump, who believes that the world trade system is unfair to his country. He is threatening to add an extra $200 billion of tariffs against Chinese products.
Bloomberg was speaking at a curtainraiser event for the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York next week, when some 50 heads of state will gather in the city to exchange views with 250 business leaders on global economic issues. The two most prominent themes of the forum — global trade and climate change — are ones on which Trump’s views are opposed to most business opinion.
A poll commissioned by Bloomberg shows that 63 percent of business leaders believe that free trade is good for the US because it opens markets for business.
Bloomberg said: “Most US business leaders support strong business relations with China. When trade is in danger because of politics, maybe business can help fix it.”
Part of next week’s forum will focus on climate change, another issue where many business leaders disagree with Trump administration policy. “So we’ll solve trade wars in the morning and climate change in the afternoon,” Bloomberg said.
American newspaper reports said that Bloomberg was considering seeking nomination as a Democratic candidate in the 2020 election race, which would potentially pit him against Trump. Bloomberg insiders said that he was likely to decide after the mid-term Congressional elections in November.
Tom Orlik, the Bloomberg chief economist, said that there was more uncertainty in the global outlook compared to the beginning of the year, because of concerns about Chinese growth, the actions of central banks around the world, the state of emerging markets, and the threat to world trade.
“Chinese growth has slowed to around 5.3 percent, which is robust by the standards of the rest of the world but the slowest for 20 years in China,” Orlik said. He thought that the US economy would grow this year by about 2.9 percent, boosted by tax cuts and a loosening of regulations.
“We will see this week whether the trade skirmish becomes a trade war with real bullets,” he said, adding that a full blow trade war would hit the economic growth prospects of both the US and China.
He added that there was a further risk factor to the global economy from the looming imposition by the US of sanctions against Iran.
But he said that a rise in the oil price was less of a danger to the global economy than it had been in the past because the US was now a major oil exporter.
“Higher US oil earnings now get sober by American consumers so it could actually be positive for the global economy.”