Sanctions and increased tariffs point to an uncertain future

Image credit: Svetlana Lukienko /

It seems to have happened so fast. One minute we are open and global and anyone can play and the next we are surrounded by sanctions and increased tariffs and an uncertain future.

The US and China sanctions are becoming about as bad as it can get. President Trump keeps increasing the scope of sanctions against anything Chinese, particularly Huawei.

More recently China has warned India that blocking Huawei from offering its services, particularly 5G products and services, will result in ‘reverse’ sanctions.

More recently still, Japan and South Korea are at it, threatening tighter checks, then backing off, then threatening tighter checks.

In some ways, this all seems like someone else’s problem but the fact is that this political posturing is beginning to bite.

According to a regular survey by Liquid Technology in the US, which focuses on tariffs and how the political pressure puts pressure on them, IT companies and ‘Big Tech’ are feeling that pressure.

Most companies are, at best, uncertain about the future.

This is reflected in the fact that only 19 percent of companies are expediting IT purchases due to the current uncertainty. And, on a scale of 1-100, companies score their uncertainty at a worrying 38.

Apple’s share price dropped 5.2 percent and big tech companies lost $162 billion, all as a result of increased tariffs – and the uncertainty.

It could be argued that these findings are cause for slight concern and not outright panic but the way things are going it is anyone’s guess as to what comes next.

We seem to have gone from a world that was at least striving for common sense to a world that is reverting to protectionist and anti-business rules.

In an era of enormous disruption and lightning fast technical change, the last thing any industry needs is an uncertain environment.

As a senior futurist at IBM once said, ‘our toes are dangling over the edge of a very uncertain future’. He was talking about technology but his words could be applied to the entire global situation.

The Liquid Technology report and infographic can be found here.

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