Ian Tomb, Kamakshya Trivedi, 06 January 2017

It has become consensus to argue that we have approached ‘peak trade’ or the ‘end of globalisation’: that the past five years of stagnant global trade growth are not temporary, but instead reflect persistent forces that are likely to drive a continued stagnation in global trade over the long run. Though this view preceded the Brexit referendum, this column argues that it has now been amplified by the UK’s vote to leave the EU and the prospect that, potentially, US President-elect Trump and other leaders across developed markets will implement protectionist trade policies. The authors consider the arguments for ‘peak trade’, and conclude that, though downside risks to the trade outlook are prominent, there is little evidence – yet – that the current stagnation in global trade is predestined to extend far into the future.

Simon Evenett, Johannes Fritz, 12 November 2015

The value of world trade is falling. This column, which introduces the 18th Global Trade Alert report, shows that the manufactures that account for a large share of the fall are those where G20 nations have imposed the most trade restrictions since 2014. G20 leaders should request that the Chinese G20 Presidency support initiatives to revive global trade and avoid more trade distortions.

Bernard Hoekman, 24 June 2015

The world’s trade-to-GDP ratio climbed steadily for six decades. The rise slowed even before the Global Crisis and world trade growth has been anaemic since 2010. Recent data shows it declining, leading some to wonder whether global trade has peaked. This column introduces a new eBook that examines the issue from a wide range of perspectives. No consensus emerges but it is clear that this is not just a cyclical issue – something structural changed. 

Events