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The Still-Murky Global Trade Waters
There’s been something of a trend in recent years away from trade pacts among large blocs and toward more bilateral agreements. Naturally, there are notable exceptions—the renegotiated NAFTA and the recently agreed Asia Pacific pact jump immediately to mind—but relative to the number of recently agreed bilateral treaties, the momentum seems to have swung in favor of the latter. Perhaps because bilateral agreements are easier to hammer out—a potentially significant factor in an overall tenser geopolitical environment. Whether it’s that simple or something deeper is at work is up for debate—which we’ll leave to the political scientists—but with some big political shifts among major countries in the offing (namely, the US, China, and the UK), it’s worth evaluating the potential direction of future trade deals as we head into 2021.
China’s Next Five Years
One of the more surprising (though not entirely unanticipated) announcements from China’s recent Fifth Plenum outlining its five-year plan for the country’s economy was that the country would no longer provide a target GDP growth rate as it has historically done. While some observers may view it as a signal the country is decreasingly able to generate the heady growth rates of years past, it’s worth considering alternate possibilities. Namely, a shift in focus from absolute growth toward quality of growth—a move with significant implications.
Supply/Demand: The COVID Economy
Supply/Demand is a semi-regular feature of the Artisan Canvas rounding up interesting and quirky subjects from across the Internet with a focus on economic and business trends. A good rule of thumb among the Artisan Canvas editorial staff is “never reason from a price change.” With that in mind, our latest edition of Supply/Demand.
As consumption habits have dramatically shifted amid the pandemic, demand for some seemingly out-of-the-ordinary goods and services has spiked. Whether these behavioral changes prove lasting, only time will tell.