Global Trade: Long-Term Trends and Structural Changes

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-1-5-18
V. Varnavskii,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 31.08.2023. Revised 30.09.2023. Accepted 03.11.2023.

Abstract. The paper considers long-term trends of global trade and there structural changes. We determine the elasticity of trade to GDP and the dynamics of the ratio of goods and services exports, as well as structural shifts in the major countries and regions of the world. The case study was focused on the USA–China trade relations and contradictions. Since 2007, PRC is the undisputed world’s largest exporter of goods. According to author’s estimates, in 2022 China was ahead of the United States in the total merchandise export by 1.5 trillion dollars. This corresponds to 6.3% of total world exports or 5.8% of US GDP. The trade war unleashed by former president D. Trump administration in 2018–2019 inevitably resulted in a decline in bilateral trade. However, this was just a temporary trend. The recent WTO statistics shows that US imports from China recovered by 2021 both in general volume and in the main categories of goods, both for intermediate and final consumption. Moreover, in 2022 its value, in particular for the analyzed commodity groups (aluminum, iron and steel) exceeded the indicators of 2017–2018. The author argues that, most importantly, there are long-term and fundamental implications of the trade conflict between the US and China rather than a transient decrease in mutual trade between the two flagships of globalization. In particular, it substantially exacerbated the protectionist biases in the international trade policies that became evident after the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. It triggered appearance of new rapidly rising actors at the international trade field such as India and Brazil. This points at major underlying shifts in the global production and supplies schemes. Basically, tensions between the two flagships of globalization produced much higher uncertainty in the global trade which, in the next decade, is unlikely to show the dynamics comparable to that of the period 2002–2008.

Keywords: world trade, structural shifts, elasticity of trade, ICT, aircraft, spacecraft, USA, China


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For citation:
Varnavskii V. Global Trade: Long-Term Trends and Structural Changes. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 5-18. EDN: DYKJNG

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