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Survey Highlights Mixed Opinions on Globalization

Public perception of globalization has declined over the past two years, according to a market survey from the World Economic Forum and Ipsos. Although 75% of the survey takers agreed that expanding trade is a good thing, nearly 40% of them believe more trade barriers should limit imports of foreign goods. These results could indicate a decline in trust exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum said.

"International trade and investment can grow economies, reduce poverty, improve healthcare and empower people worldwide," said Sean Doherty, head of international trade and investment at the World Economic Forum. "However, changes caused by trade can be disruptive and painful, and can sometimes undermine local reforms."

Ipsos interviewed just under 20,000 adults from 25 countries aged 18 to 74 for the survey. Among the countries that were surveyed, Turkey (56%), Colombia (55%) and South Africa (55%) were the largest advocators for implementing more trade barriers to limit imports.

Only 48% of survey takers agreed that globalization was a good thing for their country overall—averaging a 10% drop since 2019. The countries agreeing to this sentiment the most were Malaysia (72%), South Africa (64%) and Peru (63%).

"The seeming contradiction in survey results is understandable; people want more of the good and less of the bad of globalization," Doherty said. "To grow the gains and achieve fair outcomes for all, governments need to listen to local priorities and work together on policies related to the environment, jobs, tax, the digital economy and other issues which reach across borders."

–Bryan Mason, editorial associate
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Wednesday, 22 September 2021