We long ago stopped having to make everything we need: forging tools, handcrafting shoes from hides and weaving textiles for clothing. The expansion of global trade is affording us the opportunity to rediscover and reinvent the art of “making” itself, which could in turn profoundly impact what we make and what we trade.
Many industry observers are sounding alarms about the looming impact of automation, robots and 3D printing, which they fear will destroy jobs, disrupt value chains and maybe even reduce the need for international trade. But data and evidence don’t support the hype.
The political winds seem to be blowing in favor of a Congressional vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA) yet this fall. But before they vote, some Members of Congress want to talk over a few issues with the Trump administration’s negotiators. One is intellectual property protections for the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry. As important as it is, the issue of data protection for biologic drugs is not well understood.
The next generation of smarter and more powerful machines will rely on even more sophisticated semiconductors to achieve new capabilities. Pressure is on to “win” in the global chip race, which is why efforts to protect innovations in chipmaking are front and center in the current trade war – for better and for worse.
Smoother and faster customs procedures could boost global trade volumes and economic output. Blockchain is a promising technology that, if widely adopted by shippers and customs agencies, could reduce the current mounds of paperwork and costs associated with import and export licenses, cargo and shipping documents, and customs declarations.
80 percent of all global trade is transacted through third-party lenders and cargo insurers, but the process is complex, can be costly and many banks find it too risky to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Blockchain has the potential to increase transparency, speed and accuracy in assessing risk across the trade finance process, which in turn could expand the supply of credit available for SMEs.
More than one-fourth of Americans work for themselves. There’s no stereotype. Independent workers are spread almost evenly across generations, gender, and geographies from cities to suburbs to small towns and rural America. Will you join their growing ranks?
There are rough waters ahead for shippers dealing with the tariff uncertainties. The prospect of tariff hikes is incentivizing companies to lock in better shipping prices now. But many retailers are competing just to find space for their goods on an ocean carrier, and the shipment surge has resulted in massive congestion at ports and warehouses.
Blockchain technologies will play an increasing role in international trade. Using blockchain to track the origins of raw materials and follow domestic and international supply chains can help meet the increasing demand for consumer information about globally produced goods, providing more transparency and accuracy about a product’s long journey to the store.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is an incubator of trade policy ideas and a pragmatic driver of initiatives in emerging areas of trade that matter not only to the Asia-Pacific region, but also globally. Digital trade is one case study that shows how APEC serves as a building block in the iterative process of co-creating norms for trade.