International commerce is a pillar of the global economy, encouraging economic growth, collaboration, and competitiveness. The year 2019 was defined by a complex interaction of economic, political, and social forces, all of which had an impact on the global trading scene. This article delves into the key statistics and trends that defined international trade in 2019, such as the slowing of merchandise trade growth, the effects of US-China trade tensions, the resilience of services trade, the growing role of developing economies, regional trade agreements, shifts in global value chains, the rise of e-commerce and digital trade, and growing environmental concerns.
In 2019, international trade faced a number of problems and opportunities, primarily as a result of persistent trade disputes and global economic trends. Below are some of the year's notable statistics and trends:
Global trade growth
Global trade volume growth decreased in 2019, hitting 1.0% in 2019 compared to 4.0% in 2018. This downturn was mostly caused by persistent trade disputes, particularly between the US and China.
The impact of trade tensions
The trade war between the United States and China reduced bilateral trade between the two countries. levies on Chinese imports worth hundreds of billions of dollars were levied by the US, and China countered with levies on US goods. This circumstance has added to the uncertainty in global trade and supply chains.
Services trade growth
Despite the overall slowdown in merchandise trade, global trade in services remained quite resilient in 2019, increasing by 2.8% over 2018.
Developing economies' role
Developing economies, notably Asia and Africa, have become increasingly vital in global trade. In 2019, developing economies' share of world merchandise exports was roughly 44%, while their share of global imports was approximately 42%.
Regional trade agreements
Countries continued to explore regional trade agreements in order to foster economic integration and collaboration. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) are two notable examples.
Shifts in global value chains
As a result of trade tensions, firms began reevaluating their global value chains, with some preferring to relocate production locations to avoid tariffs and minimize risks.
E-commerce and digital trade
E-commerce and digital trade continued to change international trade in 2019, with a rising amount of transactions taking place online. This tendency enabled small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) to get access to global markets and participate in international trade.
Concerns about the environment: As public knowledge of climate change and environmental issues grew, so did the need for sustainable products and practices in international trade. This movement has resulted in an increase in the use of eco-labeling, green supply chain management, and other sustainability activities.
These 2019 trends and data show the dynamic nature of international trade, with both difficulties and possibilities for enterprises and countries.