Americans spent 8 billion hours in 2015 sitting in traffic. Our individual productivity takes a hit, but so does the productivity of our businesses and the overall economy. In the same way, bottlenecks clearing products through customs at international borders can waste time and money and even disrupt business plans and supplier relationships.
Because most everything can be found online and purchased in small quantities, most consumers don’t see much difference between buying toothpaste from CVS online or purchasing an Alex Galchenyuk hockey trading card from Canada on eBay. But when the product is shipped across an international border, the “de minimis” rule is in play.
They say variety is the spice of life. As millions of households around the world can increasingly afford to diversify their diets, stimulating global demand for more meat, fish, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. It’s an opportunity farmers in America and in developing countries are preparing to seize.
More than half of the world’s cut flowers still pass through auction houses in The Netherlands before reaching your local floral shop or grocery. That’s starting to change. Digital trade and lower transportation costs are helping developing countries like Colombia, Kenya, Ecuador and Ethiopia sell directly to buyers and blossom in global flower trade.
Driverless trucks will someday revolutionize shipping, with the potential to lower costs and improve safety. But what will happen to trucking jobs?
Thanks to technology and policy improvements, modern production is increasingly organized around the set of tasks required to bring a product to market, from invention to final use. These tasks form “value chains” of different firms in different places whose activities are precisely coordinated.