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2017 EUDA Annual Conference at Stanhope Hotel Brussels
“PROTECTIONISM:
MEDICINE TO A RIGHT ILLNESS OR POISON PILL?”

15 November 2017
The recent rise of populism around the world is often accompanied with the rhetoric that protectionism is the “panacea” that will revive economic growth and create more “national” jobs. By hindering or blocking foreign workers or companies from accessing the domestic market, protectionism offers an apparently comfortable cocoon that provides a temporary relief to the domestic economic issues … but it often proves to be a short-term solution or a short-sighted decision.
Indeed, in the medium- or long-term, the disconnection from global trade and the “protection” from global competitors provide major disincentives for these protected companies and jobs to further develop, invest or innovate. They will be “frozen in time” and while the quality of their products and services will at best stagnate, their processes will progressively grow obsolete and inefficient with regards to the global market. Their costs and prices will rise and cripple their global competitiveness. By freezing these selected sectors, protectionism progressively transforms them into a liability to their national economic partners.
As global free trade champions, Europeans promote free market access and a level playing field worldwide. In the words of Jean-Claude Juncker: “As far as we [Europe] are concerned, there is no protection in protectionism”. Moreover, reciprocal treatment is essential when dealing with global sectors and may prove to be a key part of a healthy strategy to erode and ultimately eliminate protectionism.
The conference opened with a short description of the possible globalisation illness affecting Europe. Then the speakers considered whether protectionism was a medicine to a right illness or poison pill and considered whether realism and reciprocity could lead the way to a globalisation wellness for Europe. Before concluding with an open discussion, selected cases of dredging against protectionism were presented.
View the Conference Programme in detail and the Conference Attendance List.
Opening Address:
  • Mr Alan Lievens
    EuDA Chairman
Introduction to the Conference Theme and Speakers by the Conference Moderator:
  • Mr Eric Van den Eede, Special Adviser on Waterborne Transport Infrastructure and Chairman of Flanders’ Maritime Cluster
Speakers:
  • Prof. Jonathan Holslag, Professor of International Politics
    Free University Brussels (VUB)
    presenting “Is there a Globalisation Illness? from Globalisation Illness to Wellness…”.
  • Mrs Signe Ratso , Director for Trade Strategy and Analysis
    European Commission – DG Trade
    presenting “Protectionism and Realism? Fight against Protectionism and Need for Reciprocity”.
  • Mr Paris Sansoglou, Secretary General
    European Dredging Association
    presenting “Dredging against Protectionism”.
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