Almost 15 years ago, in The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman popularized the latest wave of globalization as a world of giant corporate supply chains that tripled world trade between 1990 and 2010. Major corporations such as Apple, Dell, and GE offshored manufacturing to low-cost economies; China became the world's factory, mass-producing and exporting computers and gadgets to Western shoppers. This paradigm of globalization has dominated global trade policy-making and guided hundreds of billions of dollars in business investments and development spending for almost three decades.
But we are now on the cusp of a new era. Revolutionizing World Trade argues that technologies such as ecommerce, 3D printing, 5G, the Cloud, blockchain, and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing the economics of trade and global production, empowering businesses of all sizes to make, move, and market products and services worldwide and with greater ease than ever before. The twin forces of digitization and trade are changing the patterns, players, politics, and possibilities of world trade, and can reinvigorate global productivity growth. However, new policy challenges and old regulatory frameworks are stifling the promise of this most dynamic, prosperous, and inclusive wave of globalization yet. This book uses new empirical evidence and policy experiences to examine the clash between emerging possibilities in world trade and outdated policies and institutions, offering several policy recommendations for navigating these obstacles to catalyze growth and development around the world.
About the author
Kati Suominen is Founder and CEO of Nextrade Group, a Los Angeles-based data and analytics company that helps governments, multilateral development banks, and Fortune 500s enable world trade through technology. She has ideated and built dozens of data and analytics products to understand and solve challenges to world trade and digitization, and ideated and built seven global initiatives and public-private partnerships to further ecommerce development and digitization of world trade. She is the author and editor of ten books on trade and economics, notably Revolutionizing World Trade: How Disruptive Technologies Open Opportunities for All (Stanford University Press, 2019), Peerless and Periled: The Paradox of America's Leadership in the World Economic Order (Stanford University Press, 2012) and Globalization at Risk: Challenges to Finance and Trade (Yale University Press, 2010, one of Foreign Affairs' best international affairs books of the year). She serves as Adjunct Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she cofounded the Digital Trade program, and Adjunct Professor at the UCLA Anderson School, where she teaches MBA courses on international business economics and the economics of global digital disruption. She is Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
"Trade has historically been expensive, slow, and opaque. Today's disruptive technologies not only offer new solutions to old problems, but create wholly new global markets for products and services. Kati Suominen draws from her deep experience in the world of goods trade to clearly set out the parameters of this new global trading ecosystem, offering excellent insight and advice for goods producers seeking to get involved in frontier technologies like blockchain and AI."
—Dr. Alisa DiCaprio, Head of Trade and Supply Chain, R3
"Suominen brilliantly explores the impact of new technologies on the patterns, players, and possibilities of world trade, and their unparalleled potential to reignite productivity, raise incomes, and empower people. She then masterfully lays down a bold and innovative blueprint to help policymakers act on this potential. In an increasingly darkening global trade policy scenario, this is a book by a modern-day Renaissance woman on the renaissance of globalization!"
—Anabel González, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, former Costa Rica Trade Minister, Senior Director of the World Bank Trade & Competitiveness, and former WTO Agriculture Director
"An important new book, highlighting the trading opportunities that come with new technologies. It analyzes the challenges that need to be overcome, including cross-border procedures, and makes the key point that beyond digitizing trade, we also need to digitize customs, borders, and ports."
—Jan Hoffmann, Chief, Trade Logistics Branch, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD
"Professor Kati Suominen 'gets it.' Globalization, technology, and mass affluence have changed the rules for international expansion. In Revolutionizing World Trade, Suominen walks us through how these changes have upended the traditional trading world, driven by ecommerce and the Internet. Every international business should get this book. Then they can 'get it' as well."
—Frank Lavin, Chairman, Export Now, former Undersecretary for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce
"Revolutionizing World Trade provides an in-depth look at forces changing trade and global business and makes important recommendations for bold policy ideas which would enable outsized economic growth across global markets. A must-read for anyone driven to solve these big problems."
—Brenda Santoro, Head of Global Trade, Silicon Valley Bank
"Kati has a wealth of experience in international trade from both a private sector practitioner perspective as well as a public sector policy perspective. Her work has taken her to the forefront of the evolving trade landscape. This book elucidates this evolution and is a great contribution to the debate about the future of trade and our ability to shape its course for the betterment of the global community."
—Steven Beck, Head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance, Asian Development Bank
"Kati Suominen introduces this book as a roadmap for the far-sighted entrepreneur; however, it is much more than that. In Revolutionizing World Trade, she explores the opportunities and challenges facing businesses, policy makers, regulators, and society in general, before finally setting out her manifesto for using e-commerce as a key enabler for inclusive trade. Whatever your role or interest in e-commerce and trade, this book will help you better understand how e-commerce is shaping our world today and the benefits that it can bring tomorrow."
—Steven Pope, Vice President Customs & Regulatory Affairs, DHL Express Europe
"In a time of taking two steps back, Revolutionizing World Trade makes a bold leap into the future and the verdict is there is nothing to fear! Suominen provides a thorough review of what's to come for the global economy and while not shying from the real challenges facing consumers, governments and businesses, generates a sense of promise and optimism sorely missing from today's discourse on global affairs."
—Susan F. Stone, Senior Trade Advisor, OECD