Whatever you buy for the holidays this year, chances are, there’s a global trade aspect to your gift-gifting. As we like to say at TradeVistas, “see the trade in everything.” Happy holidays.
As we bundle up for the remainder of the winter season, we can give thanks to global trade for gifting us with some of today’s trendiest and coziest items – Sherpa wool coats, Mongolian lamb fur pillows and cashmere sweaters, Giza cotton sheets, and Turkish towels.
The question of where and how pencils are made has resurfaced in the current debate over American trade policy. Policymakers often try to revive trade-impacted low-tech sectors through trade protection. The pencil industry’s experience highlights the difficulties of this approach.
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.
Sand is a critical component in many of the products we depend on every day. Demand for sand is expected to increase in the coming years, especially in developing countries faced with increasing populations, urbanization and economic growth. But despite its importance worldwide, sand is one of the least regulated resources today.
From birthday parties to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, balloons are a staple when it comes to party decor and celebrations. But the world is running short on the critical element that makes them float: helium. With all of the uncertainty in the helium supply chain and so few sources available, pricing has been volatile and shortages over the last ten years have been common.
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.
AI is already changing global value chains and international trade patterns. Trade rules crafted today in the WTO or free trade agreements will play a critical role in further shaping how AI is further developed and deployed globally.