A panel discussion at the Global Cities Initiative, which convened at USC on March 21 at USC in Los Angeles. On the agenda was the shift from trade between countries to trade between cities.
We're accustomed to thinking about global trade as being between countries or large political and economic entities, like the European Union. The U.S. trades with China. China trades with Europe. Australia trades with Japan. And so.
But that wasn't the story presented at the Global Cities Initiative conference I attended last week at USC. The event was put on by the Brookings Institution and J.P. Morgan Chase and featured a series of panels structured around the transformation of trade for something between countries to something between cities.
The big driver here is that the world's emerging middle classes, in countries as divergent as China and Brazil (to name two of the real heavy hitters), are increasingly moving to cities, rather than staying in the countryside or establishing urban alternatives.