A Look at Global Trade During 2020 and Moving Forward

Cargo ships entering one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore.The year 2020 has been a bit of a wild ride. Well, that’s certainly an understatement. For many people in this country, the year has been filled with nightmarish rollercoaster-like ups and downs, twists and turns, and probably some machine malfunctions, ungreased gears, and loose screws. And yet, America—being the resilient and robust economy that it is— continues forward and marches on. So while every industry, every person, every sports team, business, and school is being, in some way, affected by changing regulations and people’s sudden hypersensitivity to personal space and hygiene, the global market is also seeing its effects. According to some reports, the global economy is seeing the sharpest reversal since the Great Depression. The drop was quite dramatic in the early months of the shutdown and has seen some steady recovery since. 

The Ever-Changing Markets 

If you are in the business of exporting or importing goods, you know that the market, regulations, and tides of trade are always shifting and ebbing and flowing. This year was specifically turbulent because of unprecedented circumstances. As of April 2020, 6.6 million Americans were seeking unemployment benefits. This has, of course, great implications for the domestic economy and will see the ripple effects moving through the whole of society pretty soon. The pandemic has certainly upended many international trade flows, though the U.S import and export movement must continue. It has certainly made countries think much more carefully about who they are trading with and how they conduct business abroad. 

China is, of course, coming under fire from many countries including the U.S and India. As of June of 2020, many Indian businesses were all boycotting Chinese products. India has already banned certain products, apps, and other items from China. In April, Japanese officials injected $2 billion to boost domestic manufacturing. Other countries, as reported by US News, like France have expressed their need to refocus their trading partners and reassess their relationship with people from China. White House economic advisor Peter Navarro told reporters that he thought, “We are dangerously over-dependent on a global supply chain.” 

These movements have led many to report that nationalism and more nationalistic trade policies will emerge the victors after the smoke clears. As Forbes reports, there have already been several reports to block exports of certain items. And this, according to them, might lead governments to be a lot more selective about what they deem essential exports and imports. 

Impact on Imports and Exports 

The pandemic has also had significant effects on imports and exports; it has disrupted supply chains, reduced trade volumes, and limited product availability. While this causes concern for traders, it doesn’t mean all of it is dismal news. Because all markets are interconnected — from Europe to India to the U.S — a disruption to one part of the chain will often have some effects on the other. 

Some analysts are predicting that returning to normal will be a difficult fight. Many believe that the outbreak has permanently altered the global flow of goods and services. The pre-coronavirus norms seemed to have open free-flowing trade across global markets, as globalization seemed to be the 21st century way of trading. The political popularity of globalization has suffered quite a bit and many countries are looking for ways to remain a little more conservative on their trade, or, at the very least, have much more discretion on who they trade with. 

And so while pre-corona trade patterns may not return, international trade, imports, and exports will continue to be a large part of the U.S economy as we continue trading with our allies and close trading partners. There is no question that the pandemic has brought about a change in the international markets, but exactly what kind of change is yet to be seen. Other industries like pharmaceuticals might see their changes as well, as countries begin to kickstart the production of some of these goods in their own borders. In the U.S, according to Market Watch, imports fell 6.2% but U.S exports fell even deeper with 9.6%. 

The U.S trade deficit also widened by almost 12% in March as international flights were not allowed to fly, which froze the global tourism. At the same time, the exchange of goods was also affected. The U.S exported fewer cars, aircraft parts, and barrels of petroleum. 

As far as the big picture is visible right now, some segments of international commerce are faring better than others. For example, trade in medical supplies and food, but the global petroleum market has been hard hit. The movement of electronic goods like iPhones has also decreased dramatically. And while the recovery of the global economy might take some time, there will not be a shortage of need for international trade, especially in certain industries. There has been some decline in freight and cargo shipments for a variety of reasons including the fact that many companies have had to shut their doors and many ports and transportation workers were either sick or unable to return to work. 

In these uncertain times, you need to have a brokerage you can trust. Here at Cordova Brokerage, we are entrenched in the movements of the markets and global trade in order to provide our clients with the latest information and pertinent changes. If you are importing or exporting goods, things might seem a little chaotic. Find a brokerage you can trust to walk you through the ever-changing markets, regulations, and compliance restrictions. 

 

The Origins of Trade & How to Get Started in the International Markets

a handshake superimposed over a cityscape at sunsetAs old as silk; as common as tea; as valuable as spices. The history of trade can be traced back for thousands of years. It’s almost something human beings are naturally inclined to do and a mutual agreement that is found in all civilizations. And, in fact, it was silk, tea, and spices that were the major trade items that sparked what would later be known as ‘international’ trade. Today, the biggest trading markets include the European Union, the United States, and China. Cordova Brokerage helps businesses dive into the world of international trade by helping companies establish secure and legal pathways for exporting and importing their goods. The trade industry, while lucrative, is composed of plenty of regulations and rules that can be difficult to navigate without the right level of experience.

The Early Days of Trading — A Human Impulse to Share Goods and Services

The early days of trading, however, involved domesticated animals like camels, carrying goods across lands. Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and you have the famous Silk Road. The Silk Road, of course, refers to the ancient network of trade routes that were established during the Han Dynasty of China. The famous Marco Polo traveled on these routes. And some of the most common goods that traveled from East to West and West to East included silk, tea, dyes, horses, saddles, honey, fruit, and more. 

Trade was then continued and advanced thanks to the forming of new countries and the establishment of routes, as well as the invention of ships, trains, buses,  and airplanes. In 1946, the Bretton Woods system goes into effect; it had been planned since 1944. It was designed to prevent further world conflicts and depressions. In 1947, 23 countries to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. This rationalizes and improves trade among nations.  In the ’90s the European Union formed and centralized their trading power. Only a few years later, in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect as well. This trade deal changes the nature of trade between the North American countries and really impacts the border region when it comes to jobs, trade across the border, and more. 

The Importance of NAFTA — How It Reshaped North America’s Economic Ties

You will often hear arguments about the impacts of NAFTA. Depending on who you ask and when you ask it, but one thing that is undeniable is the fact that NAFTA did have a big impact on how the three neighbors do business. It also facilitated trade, so it made it easier for goods and services to flow back and forth. It fundamentally reshaped the economic relations between the three countries and drove regional trade to triple as well as cross-border investment. 

As a brokerage company located on the border, we know the impact of the deal. We also know that the implementation of the renegotiated NAFTA—called the USMCA— will have its own impact as well. We wrote a little bit about that in a recent blog

Trading in the Modern Day 

Today, trade works very differently than it did on the Silk Road, although the idea is the same. A powerful country will want a strong trade agreement that allows them to bargain and bring terms to the table. 

How To Prepare Your Product for Import and Export 

Here at Cordova Brokerage, we specialize in taking products to market in international markets. Whether it’s your first time, or you have been doing it for many years, the prospect of putting your products onto the world stage can be pretty exciting. Here’s a couple of things to consider right off the bat:

  • The name of your product. 
  • Packaging and labeling design. 
  • The size and quantity of your product

There is about $1. 2 trillion dollars worth of goods in the importing industry and about $772 billion in merchandise every year in exports that go to over 150 countries.  Every product you can think of is fair game to the global market. It’s why, if you have a successful business and a thriving product, trying your hand at the global market might be a good opportunity for you. 

The Possibilities that Lay at Trade’s Door 

Imports are important to all countries because no matter where you are there is something that cannot be produced or grown in your area. So importing comes down to three main things: 

Availability: There are some things that simply won’t be available naturally in certain areas.

Cachet: Some products develop value by the fact that they are imported from somewhere else.

Price: Some products are simply cheaper when they are brought in from another country, as opposed to producing locally. 

Every business needs its customers and finding your target audience and customer base is the next big step when embarking in international trade. Any manufacturer, supplier, crafter, or retailer is a good place to start or explore. You also want to consider the start-up costs and marketing costs in order to hone in on a specific audience more successfully. 

We Take Care of the Shipment, Forwarding, and Warehousing

Taking your business onto the modern Silk Road can bring lucrative opportunities for you and your company. For many, it opens up doors and increases investment and customer base. At the same time, the rules and regulations surrounding the transfer and shipment of goods and services across borders can get a little complicated and that’s why we are here. Here at Cordova Brokerage, we specialize in the movement of those goods, the paperwork, the storage, and freight forwarding, in order to protect your investment.