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Chairman of PhosAgro’s Board of Directors Takes Part in Valdai Discussion Club Panel Session on the Economy in a Post-COVID World

22 October 2020
Moscow – Xavier Rolet KBE, Chairman of PhosAgro’s Board of Directors, took part in a panel discussion during the 17th annual session of the Valdai Discussion Club that focused on the subject of economic cooperation in a post-COVID world.

The discussion, titled “Deglobalisation: Political Myth or Economic Reality? How Economic Interaction Will Be Built After the Pandemic”, took place on Tuesday. Participants of the panel session were presented by Maxim Oreshkin, aide to the President of the Russian Federation; Wang Wen, Executive Dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China; Ray Dalio, Co-Chairman of the investment company Bridgewater Associates; and Heungchong Kim, President of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.

In starting the discussion, the moderator, Yaroslav Lissovolik, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, noted that the global economy remains closely interconnected, but that the political barometer is clearly indicating the exacerbation of rivalry, while pandemic-related threats have given rise to isolation. In this context, he asked Mr Rolet about the prospects for transforming production chains torn apart by the pandemic.

The Chairman of PhosAgro’s Board of Directors stressed that supply chains throughout the world were feeling the effects not only of the pandemic but also of the escalating rivalry between China and the United States. 

Despite this, industry leaders are making effective efforts to maintain logistics and supply chains to ensure the uninterrupted production of essential goods. As an example, Mr Rolet mentioned PhosAgro, which introduced a set of preventive measures that enabled the Company to protect the health of its employees and maintain a steady supply of mineral fertilizers used to ensure food security in Russia and around the world.

“I don’t think globalisation has stopped. We are living in a quantum world, where all elements are interconnected. And global problems can only be solved through joint efforts”, said Mr Rolet, adding that scientists around the world are now undertaking a major effort to develop a vaccine against COVID-19, led by Russia, which has registered two vaccines already. 

He noted that the 2008 crisis made it clear that isolation and attempts by countries to solve economic challenges on their own are ineffective. The current crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic also requires a global response.

“[That response] will determine how the post-COVID recovery of the global economy will look; until there is consistent and effective cooperation between world powers, the [global economy] is going to be shaped like the letter W – we’re going to go from ups to new downs”, said Mr Rolet, who was the CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group from 2009 to 2017.

According to him, there have already been examples of successful cooperation in terms of global governance in recent years. “For example, the UN has enjoyed considerable success over the past decade in creating platforms aimed at finding solutions to the challenges of climate change, environmental pollution and the sustainable use of natural resources – and not only at the level of governments but also at the level of businesses. A practical example of success was the creation of the Global Compact, which brings together socially responsible companies from all around the world”, noted the Chairman of the Board of Directors of PhosAgro, one of 41 companies in the world granted Global Compact LEAD status. 
Mr Rolet stressed that this positive experience should be extended to other areas of cooperation, such as trade, which is currently an area of key importance. The absence of trade barriers and duties as well as the free movement of goods and services, Mr Rolet said, would enable the world to quickly recover from the impact of the pandemic and make economic development more sustainable.