Davos 2019 – Global Challenges, Local Impact

Jan 29, 2019

(Image: www.weforum.org)

Pauline Lowe, Policy & Research Executive at Chambers Ireland, provides an overview of the headline issues in the spotlight at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and their local economic impact for Irish business

Over the past week, world leaders gathered at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos. The forum that sets to improve the state of the world by engaging with political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas, sparked a major international debate.

This year, the focus was on mastering the 4th industrial revolution, solving the problems of the global resource scarcity and addressing global security issues. The WEF Global Risks Report, based on a survey of about 1,000 respondents, found that the current status of international relations will likely make it more difficult to address these global challenges. With global temperatures increasing, trade tensions rising, and a break in the European bloc as the UK departs from the EU, the setting to address these issues remains turbulent. State economies face consequences as a result of these challenges. However, it is the domestic SMEs that tend to bear the brunt of additional rising costs.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe travelled to Davos to promote Ireland’s strong and growing economy this year. Both leaders shared their concerns on Brexit, the Future of Europe, taxation and Ireland’s global footprint, all of which have been identified as potential costs to business. These issues highlight that domestic SMEs are exposed to the external shocks of globalization and that the rising costs of business put their competitiveness at risk. Not only do these costs to business disincentivize young people to take up entrepreneurial positions across different industries but they prevent existing enterprises to expand their business operations abroad.

Meanwhile our colleages in the ICC were also in Davos, where Secretary General John Denton noted that “(the)combination of a looming Brexit, the rise in populism, the U.S. government shutdown and the absence of certain prominent heads of state (US, China, France) contributed to the sobering mood amongst participants about the global state of affairs.”

Chambers Ireland continues to be concerned with rising costs for Irish businesses and the rise in global challenges. An equilibrium must be achieved if we are to remain competitive and entrepreneurial in Ireland and abroad.

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