Ex-CIA director sees ‘slow-balization’ from geopolitical shocks

February 28, 2023

THE GEOPOLITICAL crisis over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing US-China tensions have led to “slow-balization,” where global integration is happening at a slower pace, according to retired General David Petraeus.

“We are in an era of renewed great power rivalries, where geopolitics very much defines what’s possible in terms of economics, trade and investment,” said Mr. Petraeus, chairman of KKR’s Global Institute, on Monday. “Globalization is not over by any means, but it has now become ‘slow-balization,’ where the growth in global trade is now much flatter.”

While there’s room to grow manufacturing investment between the US and India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico and other places, “none of these can replace China’s colossal capacity, and we cannot decouple from China,” said Mr. Petraeus, a former CIA director.

Mr. Petraeus spoke at the annual TPM23 Conference organized by S&P Global Market Intelligence in Long Beach, where more than 3,700 representatives of the container-shipping industry are kicking off the contract-negotiating season, the first such gathering since supply chains have begun to normalize from the pandemic-era disruptions.

As uncertainty about the global economy remains high, the World Trade Organization had sounded the alarm over slowing momentum in global trade. The Geneva-based organization estimates that the volume in global merchandise trade will increase 1% this year, a sharp slowdown from the estimated 3.5% expansion in 2022. — Bloomberg

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