Future Trading

Global trade is predicted to grow by 3.1% but will also stay below potential, growing half as fast as it used to before the Great Recession. Every economy will have to adjust to the decline of the global growth model compared to the previous 30 years, and adopt a new model based more on innovation and finding ways to become more resilient to geopolitical uncertainties.
What is changing?

United States

  • Economists rank a serious escalation of US-China trade tensions as the biggest risk to the global economy in 2017.
  • A more restrictive trade policy will affect countries with large trade surpluses with the US.
  • Higher tariffs would depress Alibaba’s sales to U.S. consumers and ensuing trade disputes could hurt sales on Alibaba’s Tmall platform.
  • Volumes of internationally-traded goods and services are likely to decline from 2017 as Mr Trump’s protectionist posturing threatens existing and planned trade deals.
  • The US is expected to rise up Maplecroft’s political risk and trade relations indices.
  • US firms will not be able to compete with China’s economies of scale and competitive wage market.
  • Ending sanctions will help trade which will create jobs in the US, Europe and Russia.


  • Economists are concerned that a recent upswing in Asian trade will struggle to survive an expected U.S. turn to protectionism under Trump’s presidency.
  • Trump’s dumping of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal presents China with a golden opportunity to strengthen its regional leadership role in 2017.
  • The EU and Japan are expected to make concessions to preserve trade relations with China.
  • China has threatened that a trade war against the country will result in more harm to the U.S.
  • China suffered a sharp drop in exports last year and there are fears its trading position will weaken further in 2017 with repercussions for the global economy if Donald Trump’s protectionist policies prompt a trade war.
  • The volume of Sino-African trade is expected to rise even further in the coming years.
  • The failure of the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership will see China step up its advocacy
  • Emerging and developing Asia will experience lower growth for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Singapore will continue to play a major role in the regional and global trade and information flows.
  • Indonesia could suffer on the implementation of Trump’s anti-trade protectionist policies.
  • Exports from the U.S. to India will expand by 90 percent.
  • Service imports could help India increase its overall competitiveness in international agricultural trade.
  • A free trade agreement between India and the U.S. could be a tempting policy option for both countries in the future.


  • CETA will increase Canadian-EU trade by 20 per cent and boost the EU economy by €12-billion ($12.8-billion) a year and Canada’s by $12-billion.
  • The UK will lose 4% of GDP if it leaves the single market without a free trade deal.
  • Any new trade deal between the UK and the EU will require some formal procedure for resolving trade disputes.


  • The Continental Free Trade Area is expected to comprise all 54 African states.

Trade war

  • U.S. business could be targets for retaliation in any trade war ushered in by Trump.
  • Widespread boycotts of American products in China could hit brands including Nike Inc., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Tiffany & Co.
  • The MSCI China Index could fall by as much as 30 percent from current levels if the U.S. and China impose 45 percent tariffs on each other.
  • Germany will need a new economic strategy geared toward Asia should the new U.S. administration start a trade war with China.
  • Economists are concerned that a recent upswing in Asian trade will struggle to survive an expected U.S. turn to protectionism under Trump’s presidency.
  • The regime switch in multilateralism could mean that Europe flexes its policy muscles on industry, innovation and trade to dodge the balls coming from the U.S. and China.
  • If the trade relationship between China and the U.S. sours Canada could sell some of its crops to China in place of the United States.
  • trade war could push the U.S. and global economies into recession.
  • The US and China could take a more aggressive stance on trade and investment whereas Europe will be keener on balancing growth and politics.
  • Governments around the world are increasingly pursuing protectionist policies that could restrict the free flow of information on the Internet.
  • Mexico is by far the economy in Latin America most exposed to risks from the U.S.
  • Pulling the United States out of the North American free-trade agreement will lead to cuts in automotive jobs for Americans.


  • The UK could agree a Free Trade Agreement with the EU which included REACH (and potentially other EU environmental regulations).
  • UK exports of goods to the EU will decline by close to GBP9bn (about 3% of total goods exports) in the first year of the introduction of tariffs.



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