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Chatham House Global Trade Conference 2024

Published 19 March 2024

Amid a surge in protectionism and rising multipolarity in trade, policymakers are prioritizing industrial policies. This election 'super year' will be pivotal in determining the fate of long-term strategies to navigate these trade challenges.

The 2024 Chatham House Global Trade Conference on 7 March delved into the changing global trade landscape, highlighting concerns arising from the surge in industrial policies and the need for policymakers and business leaders to adapt swiftly to shifting geopolitical dynamics. As the discussion shifts towards minimizing risks in international trade, the conference aimed to identify opportunities in emerging technologies like AI and green growth advancement. As 2024 marks a significant election year, with voters heading to polls in more than 64 countries, discussions focused on incorporating modern, digital, and green trade policies into election manifestos.

Keith Rockwell, Senior Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation, spoke at a panel on the impact of the election 'super year' on trade at the Global Trade Conference. He discussed the evolving global trade landscape, particularly focusing on the expected role of the United States. Rockwell suggested that the election ‘super year’ might not substantially alter the global trade outlook due to economic stagnation and the missed opportunities for the World Trade Organization to lead. He said that supply chains are likely to continue to be overhauled into next year, as China and the US continue to decouple. He also highlighted the dominance of industrial policy over trade policy, the latter which is often now treated by policy makers as an afterthought.

Rockwell said that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric is unlikely to result in the repeal of President Joe Biden's industrial policies, which have benefited Trump's key red state voters. Lastly, a poll conducted during the Chatham House event showed widespread skepticism toward the capacity of the election super-year outcomes to positively impact global trade and business conditions, with 85% expressing pessimism and only 15% optimistic.

Catch up on this discussion with Rockwell and other trade experts to gain insights into the future of global trade.


  • Seema Farazi, Partner, EY
  • Kareem Fataehi, Chief Executive, London Chambers of Commerce and Industry
  • Emily Jones, Associate Professor, Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
  • Keith Rockwell, Senior Research Fellow, Hinrich Foundation

Chatham House’s Global Trade Week Conference was co-sponsored by the Hinrich Foundation.

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