As the standoff between China and the US continues, trade, technology and security are increasingly fused into a toxic, zero-sum mix with implications well beyond the trade sphere. Decoupling and blacklisting have put the two largest economies at loggerheads, with Europe and South East Asia caught in the middle. The merits of the multilateral rules-based trade order, and the institutions that underpin it, particularly the WTO, are increasingly being questioned. With trade becoming a weapon in a geopolitical battle, governments and businesses are left wondering how to avoid taking sides.
Yet elsewhere, trade integration is moving forward, fast and with disruptive effects. China’s Belt & Road project, and its Japanese and Indian counterparts are changing flows across the Eurasian continent, bringing Europe, East Asia and the places in between much closer together. New trade deals are coming online, and large regulatory blocs are vying to set new regional and global standards.
Meanwhile the patterns of globalisation are also changing as digital technologies redefine how and where products are made, shipped and consumed. The next wave of digitization and technological innovation will not just open new markets and connect producers and consumers in novel ways. It can also spark political competition. Besides, concerns about climate change and sustainability are causing publics to question dominant trade practices and their impact on the development agenda. Have the limits of global trade been reached, or is global trade simply evolving and becoming carbon light and data-heavy? And if so, what are the new rules of the road?
8.15 Registration & Coffee/Tea
8:40 Welcoming Remarks
9:15 Session 1: Boiling over or cooling down: transatlantic trade ties in an election year
How can a downward spiral in transatlantic trade ties be avoided and positive momentum be found? Is Europe taking a more muscular approach to trade, and what does it mean? Are the US and Europe moving in separate directions on international trade?
10:30 Coffee/ Tea break
10:45 Session 2: Trade and Politics: Is there a pathway to consensus on trade?
What is the role of trade in the US election campaigns? What can be learned from overwhelming Congressional support for USMCA? What to expect from the next four years?
12:00 Coffee/ Tea break
12:15 Session 3: Talking about the neighbourhood: what is the future for trade in the Americas?
What are the trade priorities of Canada, Brazil and other states in the Americas? What do they expect from the United States? And is trade helping or hurting equality and economic convergence in the region?