As the fall semester approaches, faculty in the International Business program at UT are busy updating their syllabi and course content to incorporate the latest changes the global context in which business operates. This is a frequent exercise for IB faculty, but Dr. Deirdre Mendez, Director of the Center for Global Business and instructor for International Trade — UT’s flagship course in international business — has her eye on 7 trends that we all should be watching:
- Economic instability is growing in countries with high sovereign debt, especially emerging markets, due to high inflation and a strong dollar. Companies operating in global markets should monitor economic risk in host countries.
- Quantitative tightening by central banks continues to reduce capital available for corporate expansions and is raising costs, especially for overseas companies investing in U.S. assets.
- New environmental policies are advocated by the UN via its the net zero coalition and some blocs like the EU have common policies, but most are specific to individual countries, complicating compliance for companies operating globally.
- Technology regulation features colliding priorities. Progress in many fields strengthens economies. But individual countries and blocs are developing regulatory frameworks constraining some technologies due to concerns about diverse issues, and most recently, global regulation is being discussed for artificial intelligence.
- Protectionism is on the rise globally. An example is U.S. attempts to limit China’s access to advanced U.S. technology products and manufacturing capabilities. Germany has recently passed legislation to limit its economic dependency on China, and other G7 countries may follow suit.
- Changes in global tax structures are coming. The recent global tax agreement designed to reduce multinational tax avoidance launches in 2024. New rules will mean higher taxes and new tax strategies for some global companies.
- Labor availability will remain tight, especially in developed countries. Remote workers may alleviate shortages of skilled workers in some industries, although unskilled workers may be in short supply due to continued work visa and immigration restrictions.