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Will Russia's war spur trade diversification?

Michael Spence
Michael Spence3/3/2022 11:33 AM GMT+08  • 5 min read
Will Russia's war spur trade diversification?
Market participants recognise the risks and will not refuse to diversify markets and supply, they probably won't go far enoough
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Building resilience has become something of a mantra in recent years, particularly during the pandemic. But action to boost economic security and advance diversification has been slow. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this might be about to change.

Decades after World War II, economic actors worldwide put considerable — and growing — faith in a broad-based international commitment to a relatively open global economy. Unlike in the more distant past, when countries would go to war to secure their economic interests, policymakers worried little about arbitrary or politically motivated denials of access to critical resources or markets.

More broadly, economic and financial sanctions have become a foreign-policy weapon of choice, especially in the US. No surprise, then, that the West has responded mainly with sanctions, given how Russia would treat any direct military intervention by Nato in Ukraine as a declaration of war. The US and the EU quickly cut off some Russian banks from international transactions by excluding them from the Swift financial messaging system and have now frozen the Russian central bank’s assets.

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