Canada PM takes kneels in solidarity with protesters

TRENTON, Canada  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a strong statement Friday on Parliament Hill when he went down one knee with those protesting the killings of Black people by police in the United States. Trudeau arrived on Parliament Hill wearing his trademark black cloth mask in the afternoon. He nodded in agreement with remarks …

Canada PM takes kneels in solidarity with protesters

TRENTON, Canada 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a strong statement Friday on Parliament Hill when he went down one knee with those protesting the killings of Black people by police in the United States.

Trudeau arrived on Parliament Hill wearing his trademark black cloth mask in the afternoon.

He nodded in agreement with remarks by speakers including one that in effect said people must decide if they are for or against racism, and there is no in between.

“You are either a racist or an anti-racist,” the speaker said.

When the crowd started the chant of “Black Lives Matter,” Trudeau clapped and nodded. He has faced criticism for not being tough enough on US President Donald Trump’s calling in the military to stop peaceful protests in Washington.

The prime minister did not speak and he left as others joined for a peaceful march through the Canadian capital of Ottawa. The march ended at the American embassy building.

Trudeau was the highest ranking Canadian official to take a knee, but he was not alone.

During a Toronto protest that attracted about 1,000 people, Police Chief Mark Saunders, who is black, did the same.

“We see you and we are listening,” Saunders later tweeted. “We have to all stay in this together to make change.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford applauded Saunders’ action, saying it showed “true leadership.”

Other anti-racist marches have been ongoing for days in cities across Canada in solidarity with American demonstrations, where some have turned violent with fires and looting.

Going down on one knee is a movement performed by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest police brutality towards African Americans. He did it during the US national anthem that is played before games and it was seen by some to be disrespecting the American flag.

Source : Voice of South Asia More   

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COVID-19 doesn’t spell the end of supply chains

Author: Ken Heydon, LSE Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, global value chains (GVCs) were losing their impetus as drivers of world growth. Between 2012 and 2015, GVCs were already playing a lesser role in stimulating trade than they had in earlier cycles. Concerns about the environmental footprint of globally-fragmented production were one thing. But rising […]

COVID-19 doesn’t spell the end of supply chains

Author: Ken Heydon, LSE

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, global value chains (GVCs) were losing their impetus as drivers of world growth. Between 2012 and 2015, GVCs were already playing a lesser role in stimulating trade than they had in earlier cycles. Concerns about the environmental footprint of globally-fragmented production were one thing. But rising protectionism was the principal reason.

This became more apparent with the onset of US punitive trade action against China under the Trump administration. Among many examples, penalty tariffs against China led Japanese firms Toshiba and Komatsu to shift the assembly part of their supply chain (at considerable cost) from China to Thailand, Mexico and, in a form of onshoring, to Japan itself.

COVID-19 has transformed and accelerated these trends, triggered by factory closures, transport restrictions and mounting national security concerns. The impact in some cases may be temporary, like the export restrictions impeding and distorting the supply chain for surgical facemasks. But elsewhere the effects will be far-reaching and persistent.

Over 200 of Fortune global 500 firms have a presence in Wuhan. Disruption to China-centred supply chains has seen plant closures affecting firms as diverse as Apple, Hyundai and Airbus. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) expects global foreign direct investment — a key facilitator of globally fragmented production — to fall by 30–40 per cent in 2020–21.

To be clear, this does not spell the end of globalisation nor global supply chains. David Ricardo’s foundational insight that a country will export the product in which — on the basis of domestic opportunity cost — it has a comparative advantage and import the product in which it has a comparative disadvantage has proved remarkably robust.

One important application of this principle is the vertical specialisation of the GVCs, or specifically the location of skill-intensive production in high-wage countries and the movement of labour-intensive stages to low-wage countries. This enables goods to be produced where cost is lowest.

As former UK Treasury minister Jim O’Neill said recently, as long as firms seek to satisfy customers with the highest quality products at the lowest possible prices, globalisation will remain a fact of economic life.

A global shock also does not mean that supply chains in all sectors are being affected identically. OECD research on recovery rates after the 2008–09 global financial crisis suggests that supply chains in mining and quarrying are much less prone to external shocks than are those in, for instance, motor vehicle production. This is because they have a relatively higher services component, typically less prone to cyclical movements than manufacturing, and are composed of a less diverse bundle of technologically complex products.

Although in the aftermath of COVID-19, the global fragmentation of production will continue and some supply chains will be relatively less disrupted, it won’t be business as usual — and certainly not in the Asia Pacific region.

Over time — and probably only at the margin — there will be attempts to reduce dependence on GVCs through onshoring based on 3D printing and accelerated automation of labour-intensive activities. More immediately, the GVC itself will be radically reconfigured with the introduction of digital supply networks based on functional silos linked via the use of big data analytics to better anticipate and deal with disruption.

This could enhance efficiency, but other likely changes may not. There will be moves to shorten and regionalise supply chains, strengthening links to the distorting preferences of regional trade agreements. COVID-19-driven ‘sovereignty’ policies compelling firms to relocate their data within national borders — as already happens in China and India — could reduce future gains from digitalisation. And accelerated moves, backed by government funding, to reduce dependence on China will come at a cost.

The desire of countries to reduce supply chain dependence on China will be profoundly affected by changes taking place within China itself. Part of the dynamic of China’s rise is the goal of capturing more value-added within the supply chain. This was seen when Chinese smartphone manufacturers shifted production towards more sophisticated components, with Xiaomi launching its first processor and Huawei its own chip and memory. Still, Chinese firms developing in-house competencies will also seek benefit from global fragmentation by outsourcing production to lower-cost countries, such as Vietnam, while maintaining property rights to their advanced technology.

As China grows, its place in the GVC will change. This may complement other countries’ desires to reduce dependence on assembly in China, but it will increase dependence on more sophisticated products in the supply chain. This is shown clearly by the controversy over Huawei’s 5G mobile technology.

The compelling requirement as countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is that concerns about national security and sovereignty do not serve to strengthen the protectionist forces that had already been weakening the vitality of GVCs. The real risk is that onshoring gains will prove illusory, particularly when they are pursued behind a protective tariff wall or through ostensibly temporary measures, such as state subsidies, that become subject to protectionist capture.

Addressing this risk, while preserving the potency of the GVC, will call for better harnessing of technology to supply chain management and greater international regulatory coherence in digital trade protocols. More broadly, what is needed is better domestic policies to deal with trade-related structural adjustment, as well as improved domestic advocacy of the gains from open trade.

Ken Heydon is a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE). He is formerly an Australian trade official, deputy director-general of Australia’s Office of National Assessments and senior member of the OECD Secretariat. His latest book is The Political Economy of International Trade: Putting Commerce in Context (Polity, 2019).

This article is part of an  on the novel coronavirus crisis and its impact.

Source : East Asia Forum More   

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