” . . . Hardly any attention was paid to the risks arising from the number of firms that might be involved in making and delivering any given product. The potential loss of revenue if the supply chain failed to deliver goods on time was simply ignored.
The company at the top of a supply chain often has little insight into its suppliers’ suppliers or into the transportation system that connects them. Incident after incident — from the shutdown of the U.S.-Canada border after 9/11 to the earthquake that crippled hundreds of Japanese auto parts plants in 2011 to pandemic-related factory closures in 2020 — has shown long supply chains to be more fragile than imagined. For many firms, the consequences can be painful, even fatal.
And the business risks are not limited to disruption. Famous firms have seen their names tarnished by scandals involving working conditions or environmental practices at obscure companies far down their supply chains. When consumers in Europe and North America, concerned about repression of the Uyghur minority in China, demanded that apparel companies disclose whether their clothing contained cotton grown in Xinjiang province, many companies, well removed from the production process, did not know.
Meanwhile, the ultralarge container ships like Ever Given that have entered the world’s fleet over the past few years have made long value chains even more problematic. These vessels, some carrying as much cargo as 12,000 trucks, steam more slowly than their predecessors. The complexity of loading and unloading often puts them behind schedule, and the sheer number of boxes moved on and off a single ship tangles ports and delays deliveries.” . . .
By Robert Leonard
Mr. Leonard is the news director for the radio stations KNIA and KRLS.
July 26, 2018
A farm near Amana, Iowa.CreditScott Olson/Getty Images
“KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Today President Trump is visiting Dubuque, Iowa, where every year at harvest time, millions of tons of grain come via rail and truck to be loaded onto barges on the Mississippi River and shipped to Mexico, China and much of the rest of the world. Harvest puts coin into the hands of farmers, and they and their communities — indeed all of America — profit. Not this year.
The president is here to trumpet a $12 billion plan to aid American farmers. Why do they need aid? For Iowans, it’s because 33 percent of our economy is tied, directly or indirectly, to agriculture, and Mr. Trump recklessly opened trade wars that will hit “Trump country” — rural America — hardest and that have already brought an avalanche of losses. Indeed, the impact of his tariffs will probably be felt by family farms and the area for generations.
So perhaps visiting Dubuque is the least he could do.
The cost of being shut out of overseas markets for soybeans, beef, pork, chicken and more will be in the billions. Once those markets are gone, they will be difficult to recover. Commodity prices continue to drop, and good weather suggests an excellent crop is in the making, which will drive prices further down.
Brazil is ready to step in with increased soybean production, and China has already shifted its purchasing power there.
via Opinion | Trump Has No Idea What His Tariffs Have Unleashed for Farmers – The New York Times
July 18, 2018 134 查看本文简体中文版查看本文繁體中文版
BRUSSELS — From trade to regulation to security, America’s traditional allies are accelerating their efforts to buttress a global system that President Trump has seemed prepared to tear down.
After months of stunned indecision, they have undertaken a flurry of efforts intended to preserve the rules-based order the United States created after World War II and championed ever since.
The most obvious example came on Monday, the same day a stunned world watched Mr. Trump praise President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as a competitor after having dismissed Europe as an economic “foe.” A few thousand miles away, in Beijing, the leaders of the European Union and China held a long-scheduled meeting of their own.
In the past, expectations for such meetings were low, given the conflicts on trade and human rights between the Europeans and the Chinese. But while those differences remain, this summit meeting produced an unusual joint declaration and a common commitment to keep the global system strong.
The next day, the Europeans traveled to Japan and signed the biggest free-trade agreement in history, just the sort of deal the Trump administration has criticized.
And on Wednesday, Europe’s top regulator announced a $5.1 billion fine against Google, another strong indication that Brussels is not just fighting to maintain the rules-based trading order, but is also positioning itself as the watchdog of that system.
After months of denial, anger, bargaining and depression, Europe and other parts of the world have accepted that Mr. Trump and his mission of disruption are not going away.”
Source: Europe and Asia Move to Bolster Global Systems That Trump Has Attacked – The New York Times
These days I’m writing a lot about trade policy. I know there are more crucial topics, like Alan Dershowitz. Maybe a few other things? But getting and spending go on; and to be honest, in a way I’m doing trade issues as a form of therapy and/or escapism, focusing on stuff I know as a break from the grim political news.
Anyway, as Britain’s self-inflicted Brexit crisis (self-inflicted with some help from Putin, it seems) comes to a head, it seems to me worth trying to explain some aspects of the economics involved that should be obvious – surely are obvious to many British economists – but aren’t, apparently, as obvious either to Brexiteers or to the general public.
These aspects explain why Theresa May is trying to do a soft Brexit or even, as some say, BINO – Brexit In Name Only; and why the favored alternative of Brexiteers, trade agreements with the United States and perhaps others to replace the EU, won’t fly.
Now, many of the arguments for Brexit were lies pure and simple. But their claims about trade, both before and after the vote, may arguably be seen as misunderstandings rather than sheer dishonesty.
via Opinion | Brexit Meets Gravity – The New York Times
To hear President Trump tell it, every other country in the world is taking advantage of the United States by selling milk, cars, steel and other products to America while refusing to buy made-in-the-USA merchandise. His ceaseless complaint about trade — with neighbors like Canada and Mexico, allies in Europe or mercantilist China — is that the United States is getting a raw deal. Much of what the president has said is malarkey.
It’s true that America has run a large trade deficit for many years, and that some countries — China in particular — have used underhanded tactics like depressing their currencies to boost exports. But, by and large, the world is not ripping off the United States. Scratch the surface of many of the president’s statements about trade, and it’s hard not to conclude that he is either trying to confuse the public or is rather confused himself.
Recently, Mr. Trump has unleashed his Twitter account on one of America’s oldest and closest friends, Canada, criticizing the country’s decision to protect its dairy industry. Last month, the president railed about that country’s “270 percent tariff on Dairy Products!” — a statistic that sounds outrageous but really is not. Canada allows a small quota of American dairy imports to come in with low or zero tariffs. Imports above that amount are taxed at varying rates that can exceed 300 percent for some goods.
via Opinion | Someone Should Tell Donald Trump About America’s High Tariffs – The New York Times
“With the arrival in Beijing this week of America’s top trade negotiators, you might think that the U.S. and China are about to enter high-level talks to avoid a trade war and that this is a story for the business pages. Think again. This is one for the history books.
Five days of meetings in Beijing with Chinese, U.S. and European government officials and business leaders made it crystal clear to me that what’s going on right now is nothing less than a struggle to redefine the rules governing the economic and power relations of the world’s oldest and newest superpowers — America and China. This is not a trade tiff.
“This is a defining moment for U.S.-China relations,” said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s research institute. “This is about a lot more than trade and tariffs. This is about the future.”
In one corner stand President Trump and his team of China trade hard-liners, whose instinct is basically right: This is a fight worth having now, before it is too late, before China gets too big.”
Source: Opinion | The U.S. and China Are Finally Having It Out – The New York Times
Yes, Sir. I agree.
Here are two comments I recommended:
WASHINGTON — It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie: In April, China is said to have tested an invisibility cloak that would allow ordinary fighter jets to suddenly vanish from radar screens.
This advancement, which could prove to be a critical intelligence breakthrough, is one that American officials fear China may have gained in part from a Chinese researcher who roused suspicions while working on a similar technology at a Duke University laboratory in 2008. The researcher, who was investigated by the F.B.I. but never charged with a crime, ultimately returned to China, became a billionaire and opened a thriving research institute that worked on some projects related to those he studied at Duke.
The Trump administration, concerned about China’s growing technological prowess, is considering strict measures to block Chinese citizens from performing sensitive research at American universities and research institutes over fears they may be acquiring intellectual secrets, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
The White House is discussing whether to limit the access of Chinese citizens to the United States, including restricting certain types of visas available to them and greatly expanding rules pertaining to Chinese researchers who work on projects with military or intelligence value at American companies and universities. The exact types of projects that would be subject to restrictions are unclear, but the measures could clamp down on collaboration in advanced materials, software and other technologies at the heart of Beijing’s plan to dominate cutting-edge technologies like advanced microchips, artificial intelligence and electric cars, known as Made in China 2025.
Source: White House Considers Restricting Chinese Researchers Over Espionage Fears – The New York Times
“SHANGHAI — Beijing and Washington have threatened each other with tariffs for weeks, raising the prospect of a trade war. But on Tuesday, China took a step to lower tensions, offering to make it easier for foreign automakers and aerospace manufacturers to own factories in the country.The Chinese authorities said that in the next five years they would ease rules that have long required carmakers like General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen to link up with a local partner before building a factory in China.”
Source: China Loosens Foreign Auto Rules, in Potential Peace Offering to Trump – The New York Times