WITA’s Friday Focus on Trade | January 27, 2023




WITA Webinar: The Trade Reporters on Trade Trends 2023

On Thursday, January 26, WITA hosted leading journalists to discuss global political, economic and trade trends for 2023.
Discussion featured:
Bryce Baschuk, Reporter, Bloomberg News
David J. Lynch, Global Economics Correspondent, The Washington Post
Ana Swanson, Trade and International Economics Reporter, The New York Times
Moderator: John Miller, Chief Economic Analyst, Trade Data Monitor
01/26/2023 | Washington International Trade Association

Globalization, Not Globalism: Free Trade Versus Destructive Statist Ideology

After the 2008 financial crisis, calls rang out across establishment publications and the executive offices of Wall Street that we were witnessing the death of globalization. The calls grew louder and more numerous after Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet the data appears to dispute this narrative. Global trade hit a record $28.5 trillion last year with projections to grow in 2023. The pace, however, is expected to slow. The reason for this is less a problem with globalization itself and more the historic setbacks that globalism has faced. 
Before continuing, it is important to define some terms. Globalization occurs when societies around the world begin to interact and integrate economically and politically. The intercontinental trade experienced during the Age of Sail and via the Silk Road are early examples of globalization. Globalization really took off after World War II and received a recent boost with the widespread adoption of the internet. Importantly, globalization in common discourse includes both the voluntary economic activities between peoples of different nations and the involuntary geopolitical activities of governments.
In contrast, Ian Bremmer defines globalism as an ideology that calls for top-down trade liberalization and global integration backed by a unipolar power. Statists believe that market exchange between people is literally impossible without government; only when a group claims a legal monopoly on violence and then builds infrastructure, provides security, documents property titles, and serves as the final arbiter of disputes can a market come into existence. Globalism is the application of this perspective to international trade. Globalists believe that top-down global governance enforced and secured by a unipolar superpower enables globalization.
But, like statists on a more local scale, the globalist view is logically and historically flawed. Global trade was well underway before the first major attempt at global governance, the League of Nations, in 1919. The league’s stated aim was to ensure peace and justice for all nations of the world through collective security. Falling apart at the outset of World War II, it failed miserably. But globalism as an ideology found its footing after the war. Europe was devastated. This left the US and the USSR as the only two countries with the ability to exert power globally.
So began the fastest era of globalization in history. Trade exploded as people moved on from the war. The globalist project also got off the ground with the founding of the United Nations and the World Bank. Globalism was limited only by the ideological differences between the two superpowers. The USSR wanted to support revolutions while the US aimed for top-down trade liberalization—which drove the recent allies apart and plunged the world into the Cold War.
01/04/2023 | Connor O’Keeffe | Mises Institute

The Good Jobs America Needs Are Global Jobs

Happy new year (and, for those of you in China or who are celebrating it elsewhere, happy Year of the Rabbit). Because of rampant inflation, 2022 was one of the worst years in decades for falling real incomes across the globe.
Here in America, real average weekly earnings of all U.S. workers fell 3.1 percent in 2022. A central policy challenge in the year ahead is not just creating jobs. It is creating good jobs, i.e., jobs with high and rising incomes.
How to meet this challenge? Just before the winter holidays, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released new data that show the way forward. In 2020, a certain set of U.S. companies employed 28.4 million workers in America at an average annual compensation of $84,925—about 20 percent higher than the average for the rest of the U.S. private sector.
Which companies? The U.S. parents of U.S.-headquartered multinational companies. U.S. multinationals have long been among America’s strongest firms. Although they comprise far less than 1 percent of U.S. companies, in 2020 their U.S. parents accounted for 23.1 percent of all private-sector jobs, 38.5 percent of investment in plant and equipment, 46.4 percent of exports of goods, and a remarkable 72 percent of business spending on research and development.
Despite the common allegation that multinationals simply “export jobs” out of America, research consistently shows that expansion abroad by these firms has tended to complement—not substitute for—their U.S. operations. More investment and employment abroad have tended to create more American investment and jobs as well. From 1988 to 2020, employment in foreign affiliates of U.S. multinationals rose from 4.8 million to 14 million. Over that same period, employment in U.S. parents rose from 17.7 million to 28.4 million—a slightly larger increase at home than abroad.
Thanks to all their global dynamism, for decades U.S. multinationals have driven an outsized share of U.S. productivity growth, the foundation of rising standards of living for everyone. They accounted for about 40 percent of the increase in U.S. business labor productivity since 1990. For workers, the bottom line of all this is high and rising incomes. Globally connected jobs tend to pay more because global engagement fosters—and is fostered by—innovation and growth.
01/23/2023 | Matthew J. Slaughter, Matthew Rees | Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Russia Shifting Import Sources Amid U.S. and Allied Export Restrictions

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the United States formed a coalition with 37 allies and partners that imposed sanctions and export controls to limit Russia’s access to foreign goods and technology and erode its ability to sustain the war. U.S. sanctions have immobilized Russian Central Bank assets and targeted thousands of individuals and entities. U.S. export controls were imposed to “choke off exports of technologies and other items that support Russia’s defense industrial base . . . and to degrade Russia’s military capabilities and ability to project power.” Export controls include bans or restrictions on products for military end use or to military end users, bans on exports of certain foreign-origin items like semiconductors produced with U.S. advanced technologies, tools, and software, and restrictions on exports of luxury goods to impose costs on Russian oligarchs. In addition, many multinational companies closed their Russian plants or stopped exports to Russia.
The combination of these actions by the United States and its partners has isolated Russia from the global economy and degraded Russia’s military capabilities. However, despite an initial decline in overall Russian imports, Russia continues to have access to some dual-use technologies, such as semiconductors, through increased trade with countries like China. Looking specifically through the lens of trade statistics, this report examines the impacts of government measures and company actions on Russia’s ability to access foreign goods and technologies, including those that could support and sustain the Russian government’s war efforts.
The report examines: (1) overall trends in Russia’s imports to determine the extent to which Russia can import goods generally and (2) Russia’s imports of select goods (integrated circuits, smartphones, appliances, passenger vehicles, and vehicle parts) directly impacted by export controls or firm exits to assess in more depth the impact of these measures.
This report finds that the United States, its allies, and the private sector need to continue to stay ahead of Russia’s efforts to adapt to government measures and shift to new supply chain networks to access important goods and technologies, including by shifting import sources and importing goods directly or through transshipment points in some post-Soviet states. This can be done through enhanced coordination, additional resources, and further strengthening enforcement efforts. 
01/23/2022 | Andrew David, Sarah Stewart, Meagan Reid, and Dmitri Alperovitch | Silverado Policy Accelerator

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