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At Dubai summit, IMF chief warns Britain on Brexit challenge

AP  |  Dubai 

The of the warned Sunday that the British exit from the means it "will never be as good as it is now" for the country's economy.

spoke at the Government Summit in Dubai, which also saw Lebanese make an own investment pitch for his small country, now struggling through a major economic crisis as one of the world's most-indebted nations.

The clubby annual event brings leaders together at a luxury hotel in for motivational talks littered with business buzzwords. But this year's summit comes amid a worldwide turn toward populism and away from globalization.

Lagarde didn't hesitate to criticize Britain's upcoming departure from the EU, known as "Brexit." is due to leave the on March 29. UK businesses fear a possible "no-deal" Brexit with the EU will cause economic chaos by imposing tariffs, customs and other barriers between and mainland

"I'm certain of one thing, is that it's not going to be as good as if they had not been Brexit, that is for sure," Lagarde said. "Whether it ends well, whether there is a smooth exit given by customs unions as predicated by some, or whether it's as a result of a brutal . exit on March 29 without extension of notice, it's not going to be as good as it is now." She urged all parties to "get ready for it" as it will upend how trade is now conducted with

For his part, Hariri sought to attract investment from states, which long have been a major benefactor of His nation now faces soaring public debt of $84 billion, or 150 percent of the gross domestic product, making it one of the most-indebted nations in the Lebanese unemployment is believed to be around 36 percent.

has exacerbated the crisis. formed a government last week after nine months of deadlock.

"We took the decision to bring together all the political powers because is this is the only way to save Lebanon," Hariri said. "Today in Lebanon, we don't have the time or the luxury of because our economy could completely collapse unless we surgically remove (politics) quickly, seriously and collectively." Gulf nations like are increasingly suspicious of Lebanon' government because of the influence of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite political party and militant group. Hezbollah has three ministers in the new government.

A moderator gave Hariri a $100 bill and said he could keep it if he pitched him on investing in the country. After his pitch, Hariri returned the bill and said that he wished he had $115 to offer back.

Making a surprise visit to the summit was U.S. Rick Perry, who took the stage to announce a robotics competition would be held in the later this year. Perry, a former of who twice ran for unsuccessfully, has tended to avoid the spotlight in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 19:10 IST