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What we are reading

2024 trade and economic outlook

Published 17 October 2023

As we approach the end of 2023, what is the outlook for trade and economic growth in the coming year? Why does trade still rely on paper documentation when digital alternatives exist? Explore our reading list for the latest developments in global trade.

Key trends shaping global trade in 2024

The WTO’s Global Trade Outlook and Statistics estimates trade growth in 2024 to be relatively strong, per a summary by Ralph Ossa, the WTO’s Chief Economist.  In their annual China Pathfinder Scorecard, the Atlantic Council and Rhodium Group say that China is running out of road.  Japan’s economic successes may represent a powerful counterpoint to neoliberalism, per Michael Hirsh in Foreign Policy, though China’s economic challenges could hurt Japan, writes Richard Katz in Japan Economy Watch.

Mentioned publications

  1. What are the prospects for global trade growth in 2023 and 2024? – Ralph Ossa, World Trade Organization, October 5, 2023
    What are the key trends shaping global trade volumes in the coming year?
  2. Running out of Road: China Pathfinder Annual ScorecardThe Atlantic Council and Rhodium Group, October 2023
    An annual update on China’s economic development in comparison to market economies.

  3. Does Japan’s Economy Prove That Neoliberalism Lost? – Michael Hirsh, Foreign Policy, September 14, 2023
    Does Japan provide an example of how industrial policy can succeed?

  4. How China’s Troubles Could Hurt Japan – Richard Katz, Japan Economy Watch, October 11, 2023
    China’s economic woes could mean a recession for Japan.

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Reworking supply chains

In mapping the realignment of global value chains, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) finds that supply chains are lengthening, while the Wall Street Journal notes that China’s factory floor is moving to interior provinces.

Mentioned publications

  1. Mapping the realignment of global value chains – Han Qiu, Hyun Song Shin and Leanne Si Ying Zhang, Bank for International Settlements, October 3, 2023
    BIS finds that supply chains are lengthening but not necessarily diversifying.

  2. China’s Factory Floor Is Moving—But Not to India or Mexico – Jason Douglas, The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2023
    Manufacturing is shifting to interior parts of China with potential for further development.

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Are minilaterals the new multilaterals?

In ECIPE, Lucian Cernat analyzes the art of the mini-deals and their role in advancing trade, while in Foreign Policy, C. Raja Mohan considers the attraction of minilateral agreements amid today’s geopolitical realities.

Mentioned publications

  1. The Art of the Mini-Deals: The Invisible Part of EU Trade Policy – Lucian Cernat, ECIPE, October 2023
    In the aggregate, is the impact of minilaterals greater than that of full-scale FTAs?

  2. The Nimble New Minilaterals – C. Raja Mohan, Foreign Policy, September 11, 2023
    What lessons might minilateral arrangements provide for economic and trade relations?

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Subsidy clubs?

Alan Beattie in the Financial Times considers whether a “subsidy club” of like-minded economies would work and be WTO-consistent, while France ties EV subsidy grants to climate friendly production, per Electrive. The Wall Street Journal finds that foreign companies are the biggest winners in US climate spending and that China is planning investments in countries with US FTAs to take advantage of US EV incentives.

Mentioned publications

  1. A subsidy club to restrain rich-world handouts to China – Alan Beattie, Financial Times, October 2, 2023
    Would a “subsidy club” constitute a WTO-consistent approach while allowing allies to maintain good trade relations?

  2. France: New environmental bonus could push out imported EVsElectrive, September 20, 2023
    France is tying EV subsidies to climate friendly production processes.

  3. The Biggest Winners in America’s Climate Law: Foreign CompaniesThe Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2023
    Companies based overseas are involved in project accounting for over 60% of spending.

  4. Chinese EV Suppliers Plan Side Doors Into U.S. MarketThe Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2023
    China makes use of existing US trade agreements to access US incentives.

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Trade digitalization

What are the benefits of advancing trade digitalization? Bloomberg dives into the paper-based process keeping global trade afloat.

Mentioned publications

  1. The 4 Billion Pieces of Paper Keeping Global Trade Afloat – Archie Hunter, Bloomberg, October 4, 2023
    Why is trade still underpinned by paper documentation when digital alternatives exist?

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