As Donald Trump continues to delight, astound and horrify the world – all depending on your outlook – it seems likely that we are moving into a world of greater nationalism in terms of both politics and economics. Trump appears to see international trade as much more of a contest than an opportunity for win:win outcomes. He feels that countries like China and Mexico have gained more from the US than vice versa, and maybe he is right.
Other countries will no doubt respond though if he does take action, and then we have the risk of falling into a trade war that ultimately won’t benefit anyone. Trump does not explain how slapping an import tax on to goods coming into the US is going to help the lower income families in his country who will be faced by higher prices – not all factories can instantly re-locate to Texas.
Closer to home, in the UK, the recent Building Our Industrial Strategy “Green Paper” from the government contained a few good ideas and worthwhile suggestions. But the section on public procurement also contained some slightly disturbing comments. It starts well – it is hard to argue with this.
“This means creating the right conditions to put UK supply chains in the strongest possible position to compete for contracts on the basis of best value for the taxpayer”.
But it is the use of the “balanced scorecard” that raises some alarm bells.