In business, trade is a big word. Not in the sense of how you spell it, but rather how we use it, as there are many compartments to trading with different countries. From exports, to labor, to production and prices, trade isn’t just the exchanging of goods. Lets break it down and use the example of clothing.
In 2016, America shipped over $1.45 trillion dollars worth of goods around the world, solidifying the country as one of the top exporters. But why is exporting so important, not just for the economy, but overall, on a global scale?
Usually, when you think of exporting you think of sending physical goods to other countries; things like automobiles, oil, or even clothing. But what perhaps is the most important export of all is the exporting of ideas and culture! These are the primary ways in which new ideas filter in and out of various societies, so that new innovations and inventions can be created. It is also a way for people to experience other cultures, like when we import in Indian spices like turmeric, saffron, and cumin, we are not only spicing up our foods to make them even more delicious, but we are taking part in a new culture as well.
The exporting of cultures can also be through things like television shows. Take the classic TV show, Friends. In its hay-day, it produced millions of viewers across the world, from the UK, to India, to even China. To this day, even after being off air for almost 12 years, the show continues to be highly popular, from the outfits on the show making a comeback as fashion in different countries, to the emulating of the typical “American lifestyle” portrayed by the show, by other cultures. Television shows like this allow for people in other countries to get a glimpse into the life of a person unlike them, which is the very point of globalization.
The Trump Administration will seek modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation process. According to a draft of a letter sent to Congress last week, the Administration is seeking a more conventional approach to trade negotiation.
NAFTA, which was established in 1994 between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, aims to reduce trading costs, increase multilateral investment, while helping North America become more competitive.However, during the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump made the debate over free trade one of the central topics of his campaign.
The modern world of art offers fascinating insights into the forces currently shaping world trade and the global economic system. For decades, China has experienced breakneck economic growth and has become a world leader in both the consumption and production of art, which illustrates some intriguing changes in the global economy.
The global market for high-end, rare art pieces is a good example. In recent years, as China grew more prosperous, there has been a sharp uptick in luxury art purchases by Chinese customers. In 2016, according to insider information, Oprah Winfrey sold a 54”x54” painting to a Chinese collector for $150 million. This example indicates how China has grown in its appreciation of originals. This shift perhaps presages an eventual reduction in counterfeit products for which China is still infamous. Chinese auction houses have also risen to prominence. Of the world’s top ten art auction houses, six are Chinese, and many of the largest art houses are state-owned enterprises.
In the art world, China has not only become a dramatic consumer of art, but also a prodigious producer. The southern Chinese city of Dafen, nearby to megacity Shenzhen which borders Hong Kong, has become the center of knock off art masterpieces. Beginning in the 1980’s reform era, Dafen became a hub for starving artists from around the country to work and train, pumping out high-quality knock-offs of famous European and American painters ranging from van Gogh’s Sunflowers to portraits of Western icon John Wayne. Artists produce these works on the cheap and can offer custom alterations, such as changes to the color or size to fit the purchaser’s own décor. Since the works are not signed, they do not count as fakes.
The producers of export knock-off masterpieces will face pressure to adapt, focusing more on creativity and original works. When Chinese artists copy the great masters, they hone their skills and imagination, which over time will allow them to eventually emerge as new artists in their own rights
What gave Rome it’s preeminent power in the ancient world? No doubt its legionnaires were feared from Iberia to Galcantray. To fund military might the descendants of Romulus engaged in prolific international trade. Today, as globalization and international trade spark heated debates in capitals around the world, it is important to remember the long history of trade. From the Chinese to the Phoenicians, the Spaniards and the Dutch, the mighty British empire and the American industrial powerhouse, trade has been at the center of every great power in history. Great powers can either take that which they need by force, or buy it away. To most, trade is clearly preferable.