In a trend that started before President Trump promised a stronger focus on production in the USA, many companies have been rediscovering production in industrial countries – spurred on by new technical solutions and relatively high transport costs. This detracts from the flow of trade. Could we say we are experiencing an industrial renaissance in the classic industrial nations (page 42)? And which strategies do regions dominated by trade and logistics rely on when their business model comes under pressure? With reports from Brazil and Germany, China and Singapore, this edition’s cover story shows how certain regions are using new concepts to successfully ward off this development - or become sidelined (page 16).
What’s clear to see is that global trade is stagnating, in spite of economic growth. For economist Clara Brandi, it is more than a brief trend, and points toward structural causes. She speaks with economics professor Michael Hüther, who believes digitalization is promoting the trend toward local production. They both agree that isolation is not a good way to achieve peace and prosperity.
As it happens, crises in global trade are by no means a present-day phenomenon. As different as they may be, events such as the self-destruction of the royal fleet in China in the 15th century, the downfall of the Hanseatic League in the 17th century, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, or customs border politics in the late 19th century all dealt a heavy blow to trade (page 38).
The poster “Ready to negotiate”, which accompanies the 11th edition of the Evonik Knowledge Edition, shows how closely intertwined states and regions are as a result of numerous trade agreements, and goes some way towards grounding the heated debate surrounding free trade agreements.
The next edition of the Evonik Magazine, which will be published early July, turns from the topic of world trade to one that is timeless: age.