There’s heightened awareness of – and resistance to – the sharing of personal data. And companies are facing growing demands to comply with labor and human rights measures. Many of these challenges are a reflection of the cross-border competition and cooperation that’s a defining feature of globalization today.
It’s an open question as to whether these challenges will mount or recede in the months and years ahead. And while the solutions will differ by country and by industry, there is a clear hunger for companies to become more transparent. Greater openness is not without risk – it can subject companies to new lines of criticism and inquiry. But it’s also an opportunity to demystify their activities and build credibility with customers, policymakers, and civil society.
The broader challenge is as old as globalization itself. The benefits that flow from economic openness tend to be widely dispersed – and thus somewhat opaque – while the downsides are concentrated and plainly visible. Given this longstanding reality, it’s incumbent upon multinational companies to actively engage with governments, other companies, their employees, and other stakeholders. That means sharing their frontline knowledge of how global economic integration helps stimulate job creation and reduce prices, while also driving greater efficiency and competitiveness. It’s also critically important for companies to help craft solutions for the subset of workers who don’t experience globalization’s benefits.
A smart approach to public engagement will prepare companies to meet the many challenges that exist across today’s business landscape. And that public engagement can help promote an environment that’s supportive of what companies do best: create the opportunities that contribute to growth and prosperity throughout the world.

Multinational companies throughout the world are facing a more uncertain and more challenging environment today than they have in many decades. Comprehensive trade liberalization is stalled. Cross-border tax strategies are facing greater scrutiny.
The Path Forward
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