This online discussion on the topic of trade and leadership, held in partnership with the Institute of Leadership and Management, followed two trade-related Club of Three webinars organised in 2021 on Europe’s open strategic autonomy ambition and European trade and investment prospects in the Indo-Pacific region. It involved some 30 senior figures from business and the policy field in France, Germany and the UK.
The global context for trade had significantly changed since the 1990s and 2000s. Populism and protectionist tendencies, the Covid-19 pandemic, Western sanctions, US-China rivalry and economic decoupling had all had a major impact on trade as an engine for prosperity and mutual development. As a result of these new dynamics, trade was now very often seen as a weapon in a zero-sum view of the world. Sustainability and the ESG agenda were not immune to these trends. In Europe, the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, which contains a number of very important green provisions, was also seen as a way of gaining competitive advantage over European businesses.
The discussion was chaired by Michael Maclay, Chairman of the Club of Three.
The main speakers were:
*John Mark Williams, CEO of the Institute of Leadership and Management; Advisory Board Member for the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council, and Member of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Trade & Investment
*Dr Joachim Lang, Managing Partner, Strategic Minds; Chief Executive Officer of the BDI (Federation of German Industries), 2017 to 2022
*Dr. Rebecca Harding, International Trade Economist and former CEO of Coriolis Technologies. Dr. Harding is the author of two important books: “The Weaponization of Trade: the Great Unbalancing of Policy and Economics” and “Gaming Trade: Win-Win Strategies for the Digital Era.”
*Nicolas Köhler-Suzuki, Trade Policy Adviser at International Trade Intelligence in Paris, Associate Researcher at the Jacques Delors Institute, and Co-Founder of the Trade Policy Exchange. He co-authored a number of recent articles on trade with Pascal Lamy, including “Deglobalization Is Not Inevitable: How the World Trade Organization Can Shore Up the Global Economic Order” published in Foreign Affairs.
Participants included: Simon Manley (United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization); Sir Andrew Cahn (Chair of Birkbeck College University of London); Gilles de Margerie (Commissioner General for Policy Planning, France Stratégie); Nicolas Piau (Co-Founder & CEO, Tilt Capital); William Wells (Executive Vice Chairman, Central & Southeastern Europe, Rothschild & Co); Catharina Hillenbrand von der Neyen (Head of Corporate Research and Head of Clean Technology, Carbon Tracker); Marie-Hélène Béard (President and Founder, MHB SAS); Andreas Schweitzer (Managing Director, Arjan Capital); and Edward Howard (Head of Political Intelligence, Vodafone).