What’s the future of global trade?

Globalisation is not dead. On the contrary, it is very much alive, with global trade predicted to grow by 70 per cent to almost USD30 trillion by the end of this decade. That’s the headline from our new research based on the analysis of trade data and a survey of more than 500 C-suite and senior leaders in global companies.

The report also identifies 13 markets across Asia, Africa and the Middle East that will drive much of this growth. ‘Future of Trade’ identifies five trends that are shaping globalisation, including a wider adoption of sustainable and fair-trade practices; a push for more inclusive trade, with more people participating; greater risk diversification; more digitisation; and an accelerated shift towards high-growth emerging markets.

It has been well documented that intra-regional trade is growing in response to pandemic-led disruptions and a shift to ‘just-in-case’ supply chains, as well as with growing sources of consumer demand in developing markets. Growth paths, however, are not limited to proximity: trade corridors of the future will still cut across continents – between South Asia and the US; between Africa and Asia; between Europe and East Asia and between the Middle East and Asia.

The research shows that 89 per cent of company leaders recognise the need to implement sustainable trade practices, but only 34 per cent say it’s a top-three priority over the next five to 10 years. To help them address this challenge and contribute to the net zero transition, we recently launched a range of new Sustainable Trade Finance solutions. To improve participation in global trade, we will need to make it more accessible, transparent and secure.

Our partnerships with leading supply chain platforms including Contour, SAP Ariba and Linklogis are using tools including blockchain and AI to make trade finance more widely and efficiently accessible by lowering cost whilst increasing security. Our B2B marketplace, Solv, digitises end-to-end transactions and goes beyond finance to provide access to services such as professional accounting and HR.

These are some of the ways that we are trying to help make globalisation work for more markets and businesses, ranging from micro to multinational, and drive a more sustainable and inclusive model for global trade.

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