Tipping the Scales on International Trade

Several key events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. presidential election, and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) implementation, can directly impact international trade in 2020, according to DHL’s survey of U.S. small and mid-sized businesses. DHL’s key findings include:

  • Pullback on international business outlook: 49% of respondents say COVID-19 has caused them to take a more conservative approach to their business’ global trade strategy. Only 15% report taking a more aggressive approach, while 36% report staying the course on their international approach as a result of COVID-19.
  • Revenue decreases may result in more conservative decision-making: 78% of respondents say their business revenues decreased either slightly or significantly due to COVID-19.

  • Asia remains a top business target: 32% of respondents say Asia is the top-priority region for their business in 2020 compared to 21% in 2019. This increase in confidence may be due to progress in potential relief from China tariffs, DHL says. Vietnam and Japan have also emerged as top trade and manufacturing partners for U.S. businesses as a result of the U.S.-China trade war.
  • International policies will tip the scales at voting booths: 78% of respondents say the U.S. presidential candidate’s view on international trade will affect the way they vote in this election cycle.
  • Business owners are willing to make sacrifices to make trade easier: 37% say they would forgo all their vacation for one year if it guaranteed no additional international trade barriers or regulations for their business.

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