System Initiatives Thin chevron Shaping the Future of International Trade and Investment
Global Future Councils
System Initiatives
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Shaping the Future of International Trade and Investment

International trade and investment are important drivers of economic growth and sustainable development, and crucial for the success of individual businesses. However, shifting geopolitics, innovative business models and changing societal expectations are creating new challenges.

The spread of international production networks, growth in the digital economy and the strengthening role of investment as a determinant of trade are all game changers for international cooperation. Societal unease with globalization is evident in debates on the power of corporations, employment, labour and environmental standards and taxation. At the same time, a complex and shifting trade landscape creates uncertainty for business and investors.

The World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of International Trade and Investment aims to inform the policy debate on critical issues and drive practical steps to unlock the full potential of trade and investment by:  

-Advancing proposals for modernizing the international trade and investment system
-Catalysing trade facilitation reforms
-Establishing norms for investment policy and global value chains
-Securing agreement on digital trade best practices and a pathway to reform

The System Initiative is a founding partner of the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation along with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Center for International Private Enterprise, a major multistakeholder programme between five donor governments and multiple businesses to design and implement trade facilitation projects in emerging markets.

The System Initiative is also an implementer of the E15Initiative in partnership with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). The E15Initiative brings together 400 leading experts and business voices to advance strategic options for the global trade and investment system.

Through the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on International Trade and Investment, the System Initiative is providing thought leadership to high-level policy forums such as the G20 and Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) on future challenges facing the trade system. The System Initiative is also active in the World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution through its work on digital trade and cross-border data flows.

Discover more on our work through the individual project pages below.