From multilateral towards multi-bilateral trade
The world will have a harder time being cooperative with regards to business, environmental or security (including cybersecurity) agreements and we will see a growing network of bilateral agreements between nations.
Looking at the past 20 years, we have built our success on our ability to become global in a global market; at the same time, we have also built local depth in each country we operate in.
Like other companies, we benefited significantly from the expansion of free trade and liberal democracy (or the opening up of society in the case of China) combined with technological disruptions that have unified markets and work practices.
The growing tensions we see on a global scale challenge the current state of affairs.
The growing rivalry between the US and China will have profound dividing effects as the two most powerful nations fight for dominance. We do not know what the outcome of this will be – an unstable co-existence or increased tension.
This rivaly might bring additional risk of division for the European Union, but it might also be an opportunity if Europe could increase its global sovereignty. But this will require a unified and strong Europe which can act as a strong balancing force.
I think that the different political, commercial and even ideological disruptions in different parts of the world are not independent and scattered events, but a trend that is unfolding and which will have a durable impact on our societies and on the way we do business.
The world will have a harder time being cooperative with regards to business, environmental or security (including cybersecurity) agreements and we will see a growing network of bilateral agreements between nations bringing with them an increase in populism and protectionism.
The VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) expression of the world, as first invented by the U.S. Army War College in 1987 at the end of the cold war, is still incredibly relevant today as we are entering into a period of bumpy” globalization, as Pascal Lamy, former WTO Director nicely puts it.
One piece of good news in this complex environment is that technology disruption is still on track to deliver incredible promises (AI, Data science, IOT, to name a few).
We need to get prepared with increased agility.
At Faurecia, we spend time and effort to understand these new forces at play. We have launched series of conferences, trainings and a Faurecia internal think tank to understand the world we are entering in. It is part of our convictions for a sustainable future.