World about to enter new trade era, report concludes

7 Jun 16

The world is about to undergo a “transition to a new order” in global trade with the Asian and African regions accruing increasing power while Europe declines, a joint-report by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Future Agenda and the Centre for Economics and Business Research has said.


The report collected opinions from hundreds of industry leaders, academics and experts from around the world, many of whom shared the view that the world is at the end of an era in global trade as western markets are overshadowed by the opportunities from emerging economies.

“New interests, new trading routes, new products and services are all emerging,” the report said. “The next decade will see the post-war routes gradually being eclipsed by the power of the Indian Ocean region.”

Infrastructure construction in the region, from ports to railways, “indicate the shape of things to come”, it said, estimating that south-south trade is likely to account for over a third of global trade by 2025.  

While the report said the US is likely to keep its role in guaranteeing global trade routes remain open, China, India, and Africa would all gather ever-increasing power and influence.

There is “general consensus that the euro experiment has had its day”, and that the European Union will either fragment, continue to struggle, or erode its own influence with internal problems such as a potential Brexit and the migrant crisis.

“Europe’s days in the economic sunshine are, in the opinions of many, in relative decline,” the report said.

It also predicted that the impact of a shift to digital in global trade will be substantial, giving it the first significant boost since the great recession.

A digital revolution could add as much as $29trn to the digital economy over the next decade, it predicted.

The experts also said they believed there would be significant improvements in overall efficiency over the next decade, more international regulation aimed at freeing up trade and the growth of alternative currencies.

“The mega-trends of globalisation, digitisation and more efficient systems are all in play around the world,” the report said. “Over the next decade, these will continue to evolve and enhance the overall landscape in which trade operates.

“How these varied changes play out and interact is the big question. The end point of a more efficient, interconnected, open, transparent and networked system of global trade is clear. How we get there is still up for debate.”

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