Between Protectionism and Liberalism. How to Find a Perfect Balance?

The systematised international order and liberal principles of world competition may be regarded as a huge achievement of the societies of the modern world. Thank to the post-war membership in the liberal and capitalist system under the protection of the United States the economic success of Germany after the catastrophe of the war, which they caused, was possible. However, Donald Trump stressed during his election campaign that the key to rebuilding US economic power is to break with liberalism and introduce right-wing and protectionist strategy in economy.

However, recently a new way of thinking has appeared saying that protectionism and liberalism are two separate, mutually exclusive concepts of creating economic policy and a conflict of objectives each society is involved in. Is there any room for compromise between protectionism and liberalism? One of the discussions at this year’s Economic Forum will focus on the dispute between the liberal and protectionist approach to economic policy. The following speakers will take part in this debate: Laurent Zylberberg, Director for Public Affairs and International Co-Operation, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) from France, Karl-Heinz Paque, Chairman of the Board of the Germany Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom and Ksenia Liapina, Head of the State Regulatory Administration of Ukraine. Discussion will be moderated by Christoph von Marschall – German journalist, Diplomatic Correspondent of the leading German daily “Der Tagesspiegel”, According to Christoph von Marschall “We must understand that Europe we have and the success we have achieved as a Europeans is due to the liberal world order. If it is not there, Europe will lose its importance and become poorer.” Considering that we can see the growing popularity of the right-wing parties announcing a protectionist approach to the economy. Politicians representing these parties argue that such an approach, including the creation of state monopolies on the banking or fuel market, will protect the domestic market from crises and unfair competition, including on a global scale. These arguments are strongly resisted by Karl-Heinz Paque, who in one of his articles emphasizes that the best way to face global competition and fight against Chinese “state capitalism” is to “defeat American-European disputes as soon as possible, preferably by adopting a transatlantic free trade agreement, and thus to put joint pressure on China to remain a member of the WTO as a “world champion of exports”. [1]

Christoph von Marschall, Frequent media contributor, Since 1991 in “Der Tagesspiegel” He studied history and politology in Freiburg and Mainz, between 1983 and 1984 he studied Polish history in Cracow. During the period 2005 to 2013 he was the only German journalist with the entrance to the White House; Author of the recently published book titled “Wir verstehen die Welt nicht mehr. Deutschlands Entfremdung von seinen Freunden”, and deals with current German foreign policy in relationship to its European and transatlantic allies.

Karl-Heinz Paqué, Professor, Economist, Gratuated from Universities of Saarbrücken, Kiel and British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), since 2018 Chairman of the Board of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation for Freedom, Member of the German Liberal Party (FDP), during 2002-2006 minister of finance of the Land Saxony Anhalt.

Laurent Zylberberg, MA in Public Law at Sorbonne, PhD in Sociology, he used to serve as an advisor to French Embassy in London, at Euro Consultants (Brussels) and to numerous French ministers. Former Head of Orange Vietnam. Chairman of the European Long-Term Investors Association since 2016.

Ksenia Liapina, Master of Law specializing in economic legal regulations. Co-Author of many laws concerning entrepreneurship development in Ukraine. Between 1999 and 2005 Advisor to the Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko and Chairwoman of the Council of Entrepreneurs. From 2005 – 2014 Member of Parliament. In her current position since 2015.

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