Executive Briefings

Opinion: The Great Trade War That Didn't Happen in 2017

The trade war didn't happen. Prepare for a few skirmishes.

Opinion: The Great Trade War That Didn't Happen in 2017

It was high on many observers' lists of things that could go badly wrong in 2017. Buying and selling of goods and services across borders not only increased this year, but also grew more than anticipated. Next year may test whether that's a durable trend or just an accident that flew in the face of politics.

Part of the thanks goes to a more vigorous global economic expansion. The resilience of the international system should also get its due: Supply chains that snake around the globe took decades to build up and aren't just going to go away overnight because of a few tweets from you-know-who. Broad forces at work are bigger than one man.

This again makes me wonder whether politics, an arena where many journalists feel the most comfort, is overrated in its ability to influence underlying economic currents. Call me an economic determinist; the world hasn't ended despite geopolitical ructions left and right.

That doesn't mean there aren't flashpoints that may become a very big deal if the economic and market environment shifts. And it doesn't mean that the trade map isn't being refigured.

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It was high on many observers' lists of things that could go badly wrong in 2017. Buying and selling of goods and services across borders not only increased this year, but also grew more than anticipated. Next year may test whether that's a durable trend or just an accident that flew in the face of politics.

Part of the thanks goes to a more vigorous global economic expansion. The resilience of the international system should also get its due: Supply chains that snake around the globe took decades to build up and aren't just going to go away overnight because of a few tweets from you-know-who. Broad forces at work are bigger than one man.

This again makes me wonder whether politics, an arena where many journalists feel the most comfort, is overrated in its ability to influence underlying economic currents. Call me an economic determinist; the world hasn't ended despite geopolitical ructions left and right.

That doesn't mean there aren't flashpoints that may become a very big deal if the economic and market environment shifts. And it doesn't mean that the trade map isn't being refigured.

Read Full Article

Opinion: The Great Trade War That Didn't Happen in 2017