As we step into 2024, the international trade landscape is set to undergo significant changes. To provide you with actionable insights for the year ahead, ChannelPorts has conducted an in-depth analysis of information from a range of sources, including the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), official government releases, and The Institute of Export & International Trade.
Here is our summary of the key trade predictions that will shape 2024:
- Trade Policy Focus: Implementation and Utilisation
One of the most prominent trade predictions for 2024 is a shift in focus from trade deal negotiations to the implementation and utilisation of existing agreements. This shift is evident in the policies and statements put forth by governments and international organisations.
The implications for businesses involved in international trade are clear: it’s essential to adapt your strategies to leverage existing trade agreements fully. This may involve exploring untapped opportunities within these agreements and expanding your market reach in key trading partners. You can review the UK’s existing trade agreements here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-trade-agreements-in-effect.
- EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and UK’s Equivalent
Another significant aspect of trade in 2024 will be the fallout from the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the UK’s plans to develop its own equivalent. These mechanisms, aimed at imposing tariffs on carbon-intensive products entering the EU, have raised concerns about their impact on global trade, particularly for developing nations.
It’s crucial to monitor developments closely and assess how these mechanisms may affect your business, from potential tariff costs to alignment with emissions trading schemes. Preparing for these changes will be essential for international traders. The Carbon Chain website is a good source of up to date information on the European situation, whilst the UK Government website has the latest from the UK perspective.
- Sustainability Takes Centre Stage
The year 2024 will continue to witness the integration of environmental considerations into trade policies and agreements. Sustainability is no longer an afterthought but a core element of international trade discussions. The focus on sustainable, localised food systems, highlighted during COP28 in 2023, indicates the urgency of this matter. You can read our summary of the output from COP28 here.
As a business involved in international trade, aligning your practices with sustainability trends can enhance your reputation, open new market opportunities, and ensure compliance with evolving regulations. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a good source of information, providing a balanced perspective, particularly with regards to trade impact on the environment.
- E-commerce Moratorium
The potential expiration of the e-commerce moratorium in March 2024 is a significant concern for digital trade. This moratorium, in place since 1998, prevents signatories from imposing tariffs on electronic transmissions. However, some countries are signalling that they may not renew the moratorium following MC13 in February. MC13 will take place in Abu Dhabi from 26 to 29 February 2024.
Businesses engaged in digital trade must closely follow developments and prepare for the possibility of tariffs on digitally transferred goods. Assess how this change could impact your operations and pricing strategies and keep up to date with the outcomes from the February meeting.
- Inclusive Trade Policies
Inclusivity in trade policies is emerging as a prominent trend, with a focus on underrepresented groups such as women, indigenous communities, and young people. The Institute of Export & International Trade’s efforts in facilitating discussions on inclusive trade at the WTO Public Forum in 2023 reflect this growing emphasis.
To thrive in the evolving trade landscape, consider ways to incorporate inclusivity into your business practices. This may involve partnerships with underrepresented groups or implementing policies that promote diversity and equitable economic growth.
In conclusion, to succeed in the evolving international trade environment, businesses must adapt to the changing policy landscape, anticipate the impacts of carbon border adjustments, embrace sustainability, stay vigilant about e-commerce regulations, and prioritise inclusivity.
By proactively addressing these predictions, you can position your business for success in 2024 and beyond.