The Week Ahead in International Trade: World Bank and IMF meeting, Germany-China talks and EU competitiveness debate

Mon 15 Apr 2024
Posted by: Benjamin Roche

Meetings dominate this week’s trade news agenda, with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) hosting ministers from across the world.

There’s also activity from the EU, where heads of state will meet to discuss industrial competitiveness, while India kicks off its weeks-long election process.

World Bank-IMF meeting

The joint meeting of the World Bank and the IMF begins today (15 April), with events and report releases going on throughout the week. Today’s events take a closer look at issues relevant to green trade, particularly in how environmentally friendly development in Africa can be funded.

Tomorrow, meanwhile, the IMF publishes its World Economic Outlook – following on from the World Trade Organization’s forecasts last week – and G20 finance ministers will meet on Thursday.

Parliament returns

Parliament returns in the UK this week, with the Business and Trade Committee meeting tomorrow for a three-part session on industrial policy, while also examining the aerospace, pharmaceutical and AI industries. The role of industrial policy in achieving competitive advantages in these spaces will come under scrutiny, as will the drive towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Tomorrow will also mark two weeks before the introduction of the next phase of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), with concerns raised over the costs to businesses.

There are UK statistics to look forward to as well, including data on employment and wage growth tomorrow, as the World Bank issues its own predictions for the UK economy and Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey takes part in an IMF interview that evening. That comes just before the release of the latest inflation numbers for both the UK and EU on Wednesday.

Cameron’s travels

Foreign secretary Lord David Cameron is also in action on Wednesday, when he’ll be meeting G7 counterparts for talks in Italy that will continue until Friday.

The Red Sea shipping crisis and other geopolitical situations affecting trade are likely to be high on the agenda, while longer term issues like climate change and AI will also feature.

There is also likely to be an emphasis on food security, particularly in regions that are more vulnerable to supply shocks.

UK business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch is also set to speak on Thursday at TheCityUK International Conference, which will host discussion on the UK’s financial and related services sectors.

European concerns

Wednesday is a particularly packed one for meetings, with EU heads of state set to convene to discuss the competitiveness of the bloc. They will also explore how to further integrate their nations within the EU’s Single Market.

It comes as France launches a dispute with the UK after the latter banned French fishing trawlers from 13 regions within its waters last month. The UK government argues that the areas have been overfished, and need time to ecologically recover.

Further afield

German chancellor Olaf Sholz visits China tomorrow, hoping to increase access to the country’s market for German firms.

In return, it’s likely that China will press for Germany to reject supporting EU measures aimed at limiting cut-price Chinese exports in green industries entering the bloc.

China is also likely to hit the headlines tomorrow as it releases its GDP statistics for the last quarter.

A major instalment in this year’s series of elections begins on Friday, as India’s general election process begins with a series of local elections.

Other dates for the diary

Monday: Joe Biden to meet Iraqi prime minister Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani

Tuesday: Vaughan Gething hosts first Welsh Assembly First Minister’s Questions

Wednesday: Jeremy Hunt to give speech at Semafor World Economy Summit

Thursday: Ofcom report on media use

Friday: UK retail sales statistics released

Saturday: International Record Store Day

Sunday: National Tea Day