Which countries will export more and which less 10 years from now?
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  1. #1
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    Default Which countries will export more and which less 10 years from now?

    Some countries are doing better than others with their exports.

    That's where the money is so who's going to swim like a fish and who's going to sink like a stone?

    Personally I'm wondering what the UK will look like in a decade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon B. Clarke View Post
    Some countries are doing better than others with their exports.

    That's where the money is so who's going to swim like a fish and who's going to sink like a stone?

    Personally I'm wondering what the UK will look like in a decade.
    A lot like India.

    Steve

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    I think Europe will be stagnant. India and China might lose some, but go to higher tech. USA is starting to gain some back, presently. Some of the other Asian countries might gain a bit of the lower stuff. Some have or might be skipping the lower stuff and getting or going hi-tech. Latin America has been losing the lower stuff. Possibly probably trying to move up. Lower stuff going to Africa. Yeah, 'were angles fear to tread'

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    10 years from now?

    Anyone with a firm answer to that would be better served focusing investments in that area rather than posting to this thread.

    In the modern world anyone with sufficient electricity can have factories transplanted from other nations and workers trained in a very short time frame so in that environment fortunes can turn in relatively few years.

    Capital is global in nature.

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    Hard to predict, IMO.

    There are opposing trends.

    One is toward globalization. To the extent that reigns, most countries will be doing more importing and exporting outside their borders in the future. World trade has something like doubled in the past decade.

    Poor nations with precious metals, timber, rare earth metals, good coffee, even water may continue to have dictators exporting their countries wealth. First world nations will likely continue to export finished goods and import things made more cheaply elsewhere.

    Another trend is toward nationalism and protectionism. To the extent that protectionism reigns, there will be less world trade. Be interesting to see if the US actually walls itself off from Canada and Mexico, Europe, China, Asia, etc. -- and what that does to US exports in return. For somewhat sophisticated goods (machinery, autos, construction equipment, TVs, computers, phones, appliances, aircraft . . .) the supply chains now span so many countries that i suspect that will slow down actual implementation of protectionism -- manufacturers, trade associations, and worker groups won't have it.

    My guess is that agile exporters like Germany and China will still be exporting a bunch. The US? Hard to tell if we will have further poisoned the well. I suspect we'll be slightly up, but still culturally isolated compared to most of Europe or Asia.

    Trade in services will likely be down IMO; mainly because of automation. Instead of some English speaking Filipino or Indian on the "customer support" line it's more likely to be Siri or Alexa or just customers interfacing with an app or website. In a way, we also have a sort of underground trade in services -- with immigrants picking our veggies, cleaning our homes, tending our yards, serving in restaurants and food trucks, and filling out construction crews. Hard to know where the current immigration debate leads us -- maybe with more expensive veggies or more imported veggies?? I don't see many more or better jobs for formerly-middle-class-turned-aging-Wallmart-greeters coming out of it. Anyhow, services that can be automated will almost surely be down. Services that are hard to automate will likely see some disruption, maybe even over the longer haul?

    Trade in manufactured goods may will continue to rise, but more gradually?
    Here in the US we've been having somewhat self-inflected boom and bust cycles every 10 years or so. To the extent they are worldwide (as in 2008), trade for all nations goes down and takes a while to recover. Trade will be down if we're in a bust 10 years from now -- and these cycles will likely continue to make the middle class in many countries poorer. The US is already on track to eliminate the sort of financial regulation that might moderate the next recession.

    A lot of trade is also agricultural -- and maybe hardest to predict? The US used to be the "world's breadbasket." Now we import the vast majority of seafood, a third of our produce, and around a fifth of the rest. Our fast food joints go to China to buy "pink slime" and the like. It's likely that world agriculture will see more and more climate effects -- regional droughts, storms, firestorms, etc. The US is better suited than most countries to weather the weather -- and still we're seeing more losses. Along with political churn (e.g. Syria's agricultural crisis) I suspect a bit of chaos in food trade and supply. Don't know if the overall effect is more agricultural trade (feeding one another) or less trade (fending for ourselves -- but also the grow local movement). I'd be happy to see the overall trade % stay about the same, but the quality of food go up a bit. One of the interesting experiments here is Amazon (cheap and automated) buying Whole Foods (expensive and touchy-feely). Be nice to see more affordable and nutritious food coming out of that, but could also end up as expensive and still touchy-feely beyond the nutrition label?

    Here's another perspective: https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/st.../wts2016_e.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Capital is global in nature.
    This is a common misunderstanding. Capital may be (except for currencies that are not easily convertible) but equipment and infrastructure are not.

    I have no idea if the really big guys know (or care) but for sure know that the smaller players do not : when they thought "We'll go to China and when their costs get high enough, just move" well, they can't. What goes to China stays in China. You can't take it out. And they don't allow old junk to come in.

    So if you want to move to Vietnam because it is now cheaper, have at it. You will be leaving behind all your five year old equipment and the people you just trained to run it, while buying all new to put into Vietnam. Or Africa, or wherever.

    It's quite possible that other countries will leaarn this trick as well.

    That's part one. Part two is, infrastructure. Does Africa have roads, ports, suppliers ? Even in the US now, there's a bazillion things you can't get done that were easy in 1980. Imagine creating an entire first-world infrastructure just so you can save a buck on the wiring harness for the 2027 Buick. And then it's all in a place that you can't control. What will you do when the Ooga-Boogas get jealous of your Tootsies and come across the border with spears ? Hire your own army ?

    This may sound like a good idea to a finance-oriented CEO, cuz he can trumpet the short-term "savings" to ignorant Wall Street, but to anyone with a brain this is a recipe for disaster. Even moving to China was stupid but what's done is done ...

    The shift to China was really a one-time deal. Capital can move anywhere quickly (so far) but manufacturing cannot. Y'all are gonna be stuck with China for a loooong time.

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    A lot will depend on which governments decide to spend the money to support exports.
    Most likely, it wont be the USA, which has been slashing funding for infrastructure, R&D, Universities, Education, and non-military science research for decades now.
    Capital is certainly global- that means the Saudis will park their money in whichever banking system is least transparent.
    But manufacturing requires, as mentioned, infrastructure- reliable electricity, drinkable water (funny how FoxConn is not moving to Flint, eh?) roads, air traffic control, ports, flood control, and, less obvious, but often more important- functioning legal, judicial, police, fire, and public health systems.
    You know, stuff Trump wants to privatize...
    And also extremely important, functioning banking, money transfer, customs and tax systems that not only work, but are predictable.

    Plenty of very cheap countries that nobody has any interest in investing in.
    Venezuela, for example.

    The USA HAD all this stuff, but its getting whittled away.
    Germany, Japan, China, Korea, places like that keep the roads pothole free, the banks relatively honest, and the trains run on time. The lights go on when you flip the switch.
    Germany and Japan have high taxes, high wages, lots and lots of government red tape, and still export a lot of very high profit expensive stuff, usually with lines forming to buy it.

    Go figure.

    Places like India, however, are changing so fast that they will be more and more in the rear view mirror, gaining on us.

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