Dramatic shifts in the geopolitical landscape, all of which are impacting corporate real estate – from America First to Brexit - provided key talking points during the first day of the CoreNet Global 2017 Summit – EMEA in London (12-14 September).
Opening speaker Linda Yueh (University of Oxford and London Business School) explored several possible scenarios, including how the focus of ‘Trumpism’ would have a significant effect on the U.S. role on the world stage, with the priority on the domestic economy leaving little scope for global trade. She also predicted that a ‘hard Brexit’, with no new trade deal with the EU, will be the most likely outcome for the UK’s withdrawal process; and that businesses will need to focus on alternative WTO rules as an urgent priority. Other impacting factors covered by Yueh included the rise of a dominant global middle class, and China’s need to rebalance its economic growth drivers.
Fellow keynote Johan Norberg, author, lecturer and documentary filmmaker, added that the global economy currently has both the best and worst of circumstances simultaneously. He identified three mega trends that are converging: globalisation, digitisation and individualisation, all of which open up access to opportunity for more people than ever but also make it more competitive. Touching on the rise of populist and powerful world leaders threatening both liberty and globalisation, Norberg argued that rumours of the ‘death of globalisation’ were widely exaggerated, and that away from the campaign trail it is difficult for politicians to stop the progress of established economic opportunities, as nobody will want to give up easily the benefits and privileges they have, whether that is access to healthcare or trade.
Exploring the theme Blurring the Lines: Transcending Boundaries, the 2017 Summit has welcomed more than 600 delegates from 32 countries. Following a welcome from Ben Johnson, UK Chapter Chair, Kate Langan, CoreNet Global’s Chair addressed attendees, noting that the world is more connected than ever, whether through globalising markets, shared risk, or technology, and that business needs to respond.