28 Februrary 2019
Free trade was under fire before the Brexit vote and the 2016 American presidential election. Non-tariff barriers were already on the rise in the years following the global financial crisis and contributed to growth in global trade flows falling behind that of global GDP growth for only the second time in more than two decades. There were some bright spots, including the completion of large-scale bilateral and regional free trade agreements, but those were also a further sign of the WTO’s diminished capability to function as a forum for advancing multilateral trade liberalisation. The new threats to trade arising from rising populism and disruptive technologies are, in other words, accelerating existing trends and seeding new ones.
The question of what is next for global trade has thus never been more relevant. If the rules-based system is to be shirked and bypassed—and potentially made redundant—by the very countries that founded it, an international dialogue is needed to establish why it has failed, what is needed to replace or amend it and how businesses must operate in the ensuing uncertainty. The Asia Trade Summit aims to become that dialogue by convening those responsible for the advancement of global trade—regional trade negotiators, business leaders, ministers and deputy ministers for trade, academics and economists. This event from Economist Events will enhance the dialogue by facilitating bilateral and multilateral conversations between businesses and trade officials in closed-door environments throughout the summit.
Why does this topic matter now?
Trade is at the heart of the geopolitical tensions between America and China, an issue that is dominating international headlines. Understanding the repercussions of the trade war between the two world’s largest economies on the wider region is crucial for Asian businesses and governments. There is cause for optimism, too. Technology is disrupting trade like never before, making processes more efficient and inclusive. And many regional and bilateral trade agreements are advancing. The Asia Trade Summit will address all these issues, and more, and give the audience a complete assessment of trade-related developments in the region.
Key questions to be answered
- Is open trade and globalisation in decline?
- How will ongoing trade deal negotiations affect businesses in Asia?
- How should globally-focused companies navigate the current uncertain geopolitical climate?
- What will a China-led globalised world look like?
- How will technology continue to disrupt trade in the region?
Location: Hong Kong
Venue: JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong
Date: 28 February 2019