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The Latest: UN chief says don’t ‘vilify’ foes of globalism

January 24, 2019
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Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nations addresses the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

The U.N. chief says opponents of globalism shouldn’t just be branded as “nationalists or populists or whatever,” insisting “we need to show these people that we care.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered a message of inclusion for those in “rust belts” around the world, saying that insecurity about jobs and livelihoods being lost requires more attention.

For many years, political establishments and international organizations “let these people be left behind,” he said.

His comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos were the latest effort to address a populist, nationalistic mood in many parts of the world that have cast a shadow over the multilateral, or globalist, movement in recent years.

We need to understand their “grievances” and the “root causes” of their opposition to multilateralism championed by the United Nations, Guterres said, adding that it’s “not enough to vilify those that disagree” with multilateralism.

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2:10 p.m.

Irish Premier Leo Varadkar says Britain will face “enormous difficulties” if it crashes out of the European Union without a deal that could leave it unable to strike trade deals with other countries around the world.

Speaking on the sidelines at the World Economic Forum, Varadkar said Britain would not only be outside Europe’s single market in a “no deal” scenario, it would also no longer be part of the EU’s trade deals with the likes of Japan, Canada and South Korea.

And because the Irish border issue will still be “unresolved,” he said “it’ll be very difficult for them (the British) to conclude any trade deals.”

One of the arguments made by those wanting a “no deal” Brexit is that it would allow Britain to strike trade deals around the world immediately.

As a result, Varadkar urged British lawmakers to ratify the Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the EU as it’s a “solution on the table.”

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12:20 p.m.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says Britain’s banking system is in good shape to deal with the prospect of the country crashing out of the European Union on March 29 without a deal.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Carney said the banks have spent the last few years building up their capital buffers. That will help them to keep lending even if the British economy shrinks by 8 percent in the months after Brexit and house prices collapse by around a third, as the bank warned in its worst-case Brexit scenario.

Carney said the banking system has about three times as much capital as it had prior to the financial crisis even after all post-Brexit losses are absorbed.

However, Carney said many logistical issues at ports and borders will not be ready in the event of a “hard Brexit” that would see tariffs imposed on British goods and other restrictions imposed on trade.

Businesses, he said, are “doing what they can but in many cases they can’t do it.”

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11:30 p.m.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has warned of a growing divide between north and south in the European Union if Italy is seen as violating the budget rules that govern the euro currency.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Rutte said people in his country are asking him why the Netherlands is implementing measures to abide by budget rules when others are not.

He said the dispute over Italy’s budget is “creating distrust between north and south.”

Though the Italian government has softened its position slightly after the EU threatened it with legal action, its deficit is still higher than the EU had wanted initially to reduce Italy’s overall debt.

Poland’s premier, Mateusz Morawiecki, agreed that the EU “should apply the same standards for different member states” but said that Italy is not being treated in the same manner that France was previously. France’s relatively high deficit over the past few years was widely seen as being tolerated by the EU.

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11:15 a.m.

The head of the World Trade Organization warned that the global economy would plunge into the “Dark Ages” without free trade.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo said: If “the WTO and the global trading system is out of the picture, we’re in for the Dark Ages, I guarantee you that.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has disrupted the post-World War II trend toward ever-freer world trade, imposing taxes on foreign steel, aluminum and hundreds of Chinese imports.

European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom warned of “threats” to free trade. In a clear reference to Trump’s America, she said: “We have countries who are acting on their own, disregarding global rules and undermining the global trading system.”

But she said the momentum toward freer trade hasn’t stopped, noting that 11 Pacific Rim countries went ahead with a regional trade pact even after Trump withdrew from the deal in 2017 and that the EU has recently negotiated trade agreements with Japan, Canada and other countries.

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10:15 a.m.

The fallout from developments in Venezuela and uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union are set to be key points of discussions Thursday at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos.

Following two days when much of the debate has centered on issues related to global trade, particularly the dispute between the United States and China, and climate change, the world’s political and business elites are digesting what’s going on in Venezuela, after the U.S. recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

Brexit will also feature heavily, with British ministers due to address the Forum on Thursday, including Treasury chief Philip Hammond. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is also due to appear before a panel as is World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo.

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