Grim challenges of global import/export business

May 18, 2023
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While the pandemic did affect much of the world, everyday life is resuming in 2022. Though confined to Europe, the Ukraine War also impacted rising prices in the rest of the world. Can we think positively of global trade under these harsh circumstances? The fact remains that trade globally touched a record $7.7 trillion in the first quarter of this year, as everyday life was resuming. The condition is not so rosy for the rest of the year because of political tensions and tightened trade policies.

The domination of stronger nations over the surrounding weaker powers is getting drastic. The Russian war against Ukraine and Germany leading the European Community are supreme examples. China has been rising and rising too. Such power inequalities naturally affect trade practices in subtle ways with unfair terms amidst rising prices.

Oil prices rose recently but now seem to be on a downward trend. Saudi Arabia’s oil monopoly is now ending. The pandemic years and the war in Ukraine resulted in costs escalating, with standard items of daily use costing far more than before. This phenomenon is applied worldwide. Covid-19 has neither ended nor has prices subsided, but WHO predicts an end of the pandemic, hopefully soon.

Globalisation and its impact

On the surface, exchanging resources between neighbouring countries via import and export deals appears attractive. Cooperation between nations is needed in hundreds of ways. Too many disruptions, like politics, religion and language, differing currencies, and terrorism, get in the way. Globalisation through digital bridges is one viable solution.

Shipping containers

In a digitally-advanced age, globalisation has its profound merits in terms of development. Sharing of digital resources spreads light everywhere. Yet, the American leadership no longer wields mighty power. Global cooperation could achieve wonders in trade, but many problems have weakened America, the hallowed erstwhile leader.

The rise of smaller nations

Now it is the turn of continually emerging economies like China, Russia, and India to lead the world in more minor ways. America remains the biggest economy. Cooperation between these countries is lacking. It is now a regionalised world where collaboration is lacking.

Warring economies

Divisions are standard, and conflicts are too many. The stronger powers succeed in influencing the region. Imposing financial sanctions is one way to assert authority. World organisations have limited impact in crises like war, famine, floods, and political rifts.

The future of trade is indeed grim

After the record high trade figures for the first quarter of 2022, it is a downward trend. Commodity prices and interest rates show an upward trend. High oil prices increased the cost of energy and transport. Food and medicine shortages affect areas prone to floods, like Pakistan and Bangladesh. Trade continues locally and globally. Life must go on.

What happens to the less privileged? They cannot afford even the essentials of life and must sometimes sleep hungry. Along with the several world organisations, the rich countries have responsible roles to play. They can sway the balance regarding climate change and ensure green policies. They can play a role in relieving hunger directly or indirectly. Equitable import/export trade policies remain an elusive dream.

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