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Understanding global trade

Our insights and original research shine a light on global trade trends and issues through a balanced and objective perspective. We highlight the conditions for making trade more sustainable.

Trade topics

Sustainable trade

70 articles & resources | 18 experts

Trade should deliver mutually acceptable benefits between trading partners and achieve balanced economic, environmental and social outcomes. Explore our topical research, including our bi-annual Sustainable Trade Index, which looks at the readiness of 20 Indo-Pacific economies for sustainable trade.

US-China trade

89 articles & resources | 29 experts

The US-China trade war is one aspect of the intensifying US-China geopolitical rivalry. US-China trade tensions and their effect on global value chains will impact industry structures, investment, innovation and consumer welfare across the world. Explore topical research, including our book China, Trade and Power by Research Fellow Stewart Paterson.


44 articles & resources | 14 experts

Protectionism is on the rise, after decades of market opening and globalization. Understand the causes and effects of tariffs, quotas, export controls, trade sanctions, currency manipulation and other non-tariff measures on trade, globalization, competition and consumer welfare.

Digital trade

21 articles & resources | 9 experts

Open digital trade and cross-border data flows create opportunities for more inclusive growth, particularly in emerging markets. Explore our topical research, including our Digital Trade Research Project that offers a robust look at the value and risks of digital trade for eight economies in the Asia-Pacific. Understand those digital opportunities and the regulatory challenges related to data privacy, security and cross border trade. 


30 articles & resources | 10 experts

The World Trade Organization and its predecessors have spurred the growth of international trade and global engagement since the 1940’s. But WTO rules now need to evolve to adjudicate modern and more complex trade frictions. WTO reform has become essential to ensure the continued existence of a rules-based system to organize global trade flows.

Free trade agreements

23 articles & resources | 4 experts

Free trade agreements can remove trade barriers and increase the flow of goods and services between countries. We assess various agreements – whether multilateral, plurilateral or bilateral – to understand how FTAs can impact the global economy and individual countries.

Foreign direct investment

32 articles & resources | 15 experts

Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a key ingredient for developing economies to participate in the global trade system. We measure the impact of FDI on economic growth in Asian economies and discuss policies for maximizing the impacts of FDI. In "Developing China: The Remarkable Impact of Foreign Direct Investment", a Hinrich Foundation-commissioned book by Professor Michael J. Enright, we take a closer look at the impact of FDI on China’s economic development.

Trade and technology

25 articles & resources | 12 experts

The intensifying strategic competition between China and the US for dominance in the industries of the future may force a bifurcation of technology standards and shifts in global value chains. This competition is also giving rise to techno-nationalist policies that will impact trade, innovation, competitiveness and the world economy at large.

Our experts & contributors

Get access to proven experience and fresh thinking in cross-border trade, policy and business. Drawn from a wide range of disciplines and sectors, our experts offer valuable views and opinions on achieving sustainable global trade.

Stephen Olson

Stephen Olson is a Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation with over 30 years of international trade experience. Previously, he was an international trade negotiator in Washington DC and served on the US negotiating team for NAFTA negotiations.

Areas of expertise

Sustainable trade
Trade negotiations
Free trade agreements
Tariffs & non-tariff barriers

Stewart Paterson

Stewart Paterson is a Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation who spent 25 years in capital markets as an equity researcher, strategist and fund manager, working for Credit Suisse, CLSA and most recently, as a Partner and Portfolio Manager of Tiburon Partners LLP.

Areas of expertise

Monetary policy
Political economy

Alex Capri

Alex Capri is a Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation with over 20 years of experience in value chains, logistics and global trade management, both as an academic and a professional consultant.

Areas of expertise

Technology and trade
Global value chains
Tariffs and non-tariff barriers

Dr. Song Gao

Dr. Song Gao is the CO-CEO and Head of Research for PRC Macro, a public policy organization based in China. Previously, he served as China Country Representative and Principal Analyst for the Observatory Group (Washington, DC).

Areas of expertise

Chinese politics
China’s economic policy
US-China relations