Borders vs. Barriers: Navigating Uncertainty in the US Business Environment

For the first time since the global financial crisis, every major economy in the world is projected to grow, and President Trump says the US is “open for business.” As of early 2018, business leaders have been generally buoyant. The Global CFO Survey conducted for this report found CFOs to be optimistic about the economic outlook for the US; 61% of respondents indicated they are confident or extremely confident about investing in the US, and 71% expect continued improvement in the US business environment in the next one to three years.

Get beyond those exclamation points, though, and you start to see the question marks and concerns — about global shifts in power, a potential wave of protectionism, and warnings that business leaders and policymakers should be “on guard” for the next recession and that global growth may be masking systemic financial, social and geographical risks. Economic volatility and policy uncertainty in the first quarter of 2018 have only increased those concerns.

Geopolitical trends and shock events can disrupt, but they can also create opportunity. This report seeks to help leading organizations better understand how geopolitics affects their strategies; explore contingent scenarios; make preparations; engage with stakeholders and policymakers on local and national levels; and potentially shift operations to seize opportunity and mitigate risks, whether financial, locational, political or social.

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