Globalisation and the Future of Trade : Impact of Technologies, Changing Economic and Political Structures, and Regulations on Global Trade
Global trade has grown tremendously due to technological innovations in transportation and the resulting decline in shipping costs. Globalisation of supply chains and the unbundling of production processes have led to a hub-and-spoke model in trade. Simultaneously, there has been a proliferation of free trade agreements across the globe. However, global trade faces several challenges including worsening macroeconomic conditions, declining relevance of WTO, rising geopolitical tensions, and restrictions on migration. This study discusses the future of trade given the new technological, economic, political, and regulatory shifts globally.
Global trade has grown tremendously from ancient times due to technological innovations in transportation and the resulting decline in shipping costs.
- Globalisation of supply chains and the unbundling of production processes have led to a hub-and-spoke model in trade, with different regions/cities specialising in specific processes.
- Simultaneously, there has been a proliferation of free trade agreements (FTAs) across the globe. The World Trade Organization (WTO) also facilitates the lowering of trade tariffs. - Despite this, merchandise trade remains largely regional in nature.
- Trade and globalisation have led to greater access to capital, transfer of consumer surplus, knowledge and technology, and regulations.
- However, trade and globalisation also have negative impact such as environmental degradation, destruction of manufacturing jobs in high-wage countries, economic inequality, and a decline in peace and stability.
- The 2008 financial crisis and the slowing of economies around the world have led to a slow growth in trade.
- Other challenges faced by global trade include the declining relevance of WTO as a platform for trade negotiations, failure of the Doha Development Agenda, changing economic structure, rising geopolitical tensions, non-tariff barriers and restrictions on trade in services, and restrictions on migration.
- The failure of the WTO negotiations has led to countries signing bilateral trade deals, resulting in a phenomenon dubbed the “Spaghetti Bowl” of FTAs. A few political-economic trading blocs are emerging as well.
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