Trade is being weaponized - and this isn't good. As politicians on both sides of the Atlantic raise the stakes, trade is increasingly a tool of coercion to achieve strategic influence. Although trade, wars and foreign policy have been interwoven throughout history, the belligerence of the language today means trade is becoming predominantly political and strategic, rather than economic.
This book looks at why politicians have resorted to economic nationalism, using the rhetoric of conflict to recapture the lost territory of global leadership and to win the hearts and minds of their `populist' electorates. The authors also present new data on unseen trade in arms and dual-use goods that are used to fight proxy wars, wreaking havoc with beneficial trade and increasing migration, which in turn further fuels the fear and the febrile atmosphere at home. They present policy recommendations for reversing these trends: increasing trade finance, promoting the benefits of globalization and controlling the export of weapons. We are at an historical juncture as globalization itself is called into question. The political, economic and technological progress of the last 30 years is under threat. Unless governments retreat from their current rhetoric, the scope for mistrust and retaliation will grow. There will be no winners.
Dr Rebecca Harding is the CEO of Equant Analytics. She was formerly Chief Economist at the British Bankers Association and a Senior Fellow at London Business School. Jack Harding is studying for a PhD in European Security. He holds an MA in Intelligence and International Security from Kings College, London.