As President Donald Trump contemplates a new trade order, one that puts “America first,” he may be surprised to find he is pushing on an open door. From both a top-down geo-economic level and a bottom-up corporate level, 21st-century trade is in urgent need of a new vision.
If he is serious about offering one, Trump should consider a global growth model based on what could be termed the tripolar world, in which deepening ties within three main regions—the Americas, Asia and Europe—become the next catalyst for economic growth.
Globalization as it has existed since the end of the Cold War seems dead in the water while policies of economic nationalism risk trade conflicts across the globe. Given a fragile global economy coupled with a broad and massive debt overhang, trade wars are the last thing the world economy needs. Closer ties within regions of the world, on the other hand, have the potential to harness the tailwinds of technology and consumer demand to drive the global economy forward.