Global trade is in the grip of a cyclical decline; but because of this economists and governments may not have noticed that it is also on the cusp of a structural shift – one that could see less competitive exporters lose market share.
This could have spectacular consequences for a country like South Africa whose export market share has seen steady declines over the past few years.
Trade flows have gone through three major phases, explained Standard Bank chief economist Goolam Ballim who was addressing media ahead of the Africa Trade & Export Finance conference in Cape Town. In the 1950’s and 1960’s countries were insular and exports were limited. This changed between the 70’s and 90’s when countries began to liberalise trade policy and open their markets. Exports grew, globalisation became the buzz-word and countries began to focus on their own comparative advantages. Click here to read more.