Globalisation is under assault, but it might yet survive

The ratio of global merchandise trade to GDP has been inching up in recent years and the deglobalisation argument becomes even weaker if data is interpreted with reference to some real-world developments.

Grab’s new headquarters at one-north business park. Many services we consume locally are becoming global, says the writer. PHOTO: ST FILE

It started with the financial crisis which shrank global trade and finance flows. Then came Mr Donald Trump with his trade wars and Brexiters with their slogan of taking back control. The Covid-19 pandemic that followed exposed the perils of over-dependence on global supply chains while the severe sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine are threatening to balkanise global finance. Alongside, the sharpening geopolitical tensions are sparking calls for onshoring production and "friendshoring" trade.

Given these cascading assaults, it is easy to believe that globalisation, which fuelled growth in rich and poor countries alike over the last three decades, is dying.

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