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Intelligent Manufacturing Expected to Make a Great Impact on International Trade

IoT, big data, AI, robot, cloud computing, 3D printing... all of these concepts we are familiar with are the results of the 4th industrial revolution, in which intelligent manufacturing plays a leading role. Recently, The Report on the Development of Intelligent Manufacturing (hereinafter referred to as the Report) has been released by the Global Alliance of SMEs and the Center for China and Globalization, systematically expounding on the current situation, scale and prospect of intelligent manufacturing in the world. According to the report, intelligent manufacturing technology will make a profound and huge impact on traditional industrial value chains, the existing international trade system, national and corporate development strategies as well as the globalization tendency, for this, we must carefully study and track it and take it seriously.

At present, intelligent manufacturing has been enhanced to a higher strategic level in major countries in the world, and the following comprehensive and proactive national strategies have been put forward, including “Made in America” of the United States, “Industry 4.0” of Germany, “Industrial Interconnectivity” of Japan, “Made in China 2025” of China, “Future Manufacturing 2050” of the UK, and “Horizon 2020” of the European Union. This shows that intelligent manufacturing is burgeoning in the world, representing an irresistible trend of the development of manufacturing technologies, especially manufacturing information technologies, and the result of the further development of automatic and integrated technologies. On such a basis, the 4th industrial revolution will surely overturn traditional industries, create new industries and relevant markets, promote traditional industries to turn to new industrial chains, and create huge customer demands. The research team of the report found that intelligent manufacturing will give impacts to international trade in the following three aspects.

First, the emergence of new trade content. In the era of intelligent manufacturing, the meaning of production and trading will change to a certain extent. The factors that are essential to intelligent manufacturing such as technology, data and manufacturing system will become popular in international trade. Correspondingly, except for traditional commodity trade and service trade, the international trade rules and systems of such important factors need to be engaged and formulated by all countries.

Second, the structure and form of international trade will be changed. For example, as city clusters rise in the era of intelligent manufacturing, city will play a more important role in international trade in the future. At that time, international trade may refer to a large extent to mutual trade between “smart cities” based on the demands of the intelligent manufacturing industry. Traditional international trade with country as the basic trading unit will face challenges to a certain extent. Moreover, intelligent manufacturing may change the forms of traditional cargo trade and service trade worldwide, for example, the relation of supply of and demand for agricultural and industrial raw materials as well as the global chain of development, production and distribution are likely to be partially restructured in the mode of intelligent manufacturing. Many industries that require global involvement previously may be realized within a single country or city. The impact of the above change on international trade is immeasurable.

Third, the competition pattern of international trade will change. The competitiveness of enterprises, cities and countries that take the preemptive opportunities in the field of intelligent manufacturing and have much higher productivity will be enhanced in international trade, while the competition advantages may help a country or city to maintain the capability of attracting labor force and gradually recover the work posts which were directly or indirectly lost due to its inferior position in international trade (such as deficit). Therefore, international, regional and corporate application and competitions in terms of intelligent manufacturing will also make a substantial impact on the competition pattern of international trade in the future.

(Source: China Trade News)

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