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  • Antony Reeve-Crook

The importance of tugboats when tankers run aground

When the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement the USMCA (aka the new NAFTA) was signed last year, exhibition industry observers said that it should yield financial growth and political negotiations that would complement the creation of trade shows in this part of the world. We all (according to social media at least) breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Our consternation instead returned to Trump’s foreign economic policy on the other side of the Pacific, where trade tensions and tariffs persist between the US and China, and to a lesser extent America’s second-largest creditor Japan.

These tensions have been building for a while. But rather than posts and stories about the negative impact this was having on our industry, investment and economic exploration from elsewhere appears undiminished by this macroeconomic dispute. Could it be that the companies in these countries affected by the uncertainty are seeking smaller platforms and arenas in which to do business and sign their accords for next year? And more pertinently for us, are international event organisers more important than ever in finding alternative solutions for exhibitors and buyers from the industries these tariffs affect?

Writing for The Economist in September, M&G Investments fund manager Eric Lonergan wrote that the threat of a full-blown trade war “has reduced the likelihood of global recession … it has spurred the Chinese authorities to stimulate the economy sooner than they would have otherwise”.

Investment opportunity and industry growth often arise from laborious economic and political conditions, and with its role the exhibition industry is among the first to benefit.

To read the full article on the UFI association website, click here

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