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Atradius publishes white paper

Trade credit insurer Atradius ( has published a white paper on global trade following the first in a new series of webinars, attended by 3,000 people.

A virtual panel of speakers was tasked with exploring the future of global trade and featured Oxford University globalization and development Professor Ian Goldin, CEO of Marcegaglia Holdings Emma Marcegaglia, Electrolux APAC and MEA Credit Director Johan Melander and Atradius Head of Global Commercial Underwriting Edwin Kuhlman.

During the event, the panel determined that the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t necessarily changed global trade but has accelerated trends that would have taken 10 to 20 years to have developed into a condensed period of time.  This includes a significant shift of the world’s centre of economic gravity towards Asia, the adoption of new technology, sustainability and globalisation, a topic Atradius will explore further in the next webinar of the series.
The whitepaper, entitled ‘How Covid-19 changed global trade forever’ ( captured the panel’s views that the growth in Asian markets led to economists originally predicting the centre of economic gravity would reach somewhere between India and China by 2050.  However, Covid-19 has swung the pendulum east more quickly thanks to the region’s largely successful containment of the pandemic and subsequent economic resilience.
Across the globe, business closures and stay-at-home directives fast-tracked trends towards digitalisation with millions of people going online to work, shop, socialise and access entertainment.  As a result, a surge in growth has been seen in online payments, cloud computing, retail and home entertainment. The Atradius white paper states that the adoption of new technology trends from online video conferencing and streaming services to electric vehicles was already underway pre-pandemic but have undergone an acute acceleration. And for most, this adoption will be permanent.
The white paper also debates whether the pandemic would increase globalisation or deglobalisation.  There is an argument that Covid-19 represents steps towards deglobalisation, inflamed by trade wars and increasingly nationalistic politics with examples of re-shoring, protectionism, reduction in global travel and steps towards shortening supply chains.  However, the white paper goes on to explore the argument Covid-19 has increased globalisation with a movement of individuals and companies online to communicate, collaborate and to trade, leading to national borders becoming less relevant.  This enhancement of efficiency could lead to higher levels of engagement and speed the flow of ideas. Global news and social media also furthers the spread of ideas with movements such as Black Lives Matter crossing continents rapidly.
Commenting on the events, Christine Gerryn, Director Group Communications & Commercial Development at Atradius says, “Our goal is to create a series of virtual events of high quality, that provide clear answers and talking points to the most pressing questions facing businesses around the world today.  We are delighted by the number of attendees who joined our first event.  We have developed a white paper and a summary video to share to all, to people who attended the event and the ones who were unable to make the event live but are interested in the topic."

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