“Goodbye, China. Hello again, Europe” : the title of the articleEl Mundo which opens our file this week sums up a recent trend in world trade that could prove to be lasting. The Covid-19 pandemic, with the repeated confinements it has imposed, and the war in Ukraine have upset the rules of globalization. Ruptures in supply chains, shortages… for the past two years, the consequences of this disruption have multiplied to the point that the entire planetary free trade model will have to be rethought.
Already, many companies are planning to repatriate their factories to Europe and are looking to diversify their suppliers, explains El Mundo. “China, the great workshop of the world, is no longer as cheap and competitive as it once was, and companies from all sectors are moving their production to closer countries (Turkey, Morocco, Portugal), in order to reduce their dependence on the Asian giant”, writes the Spanish daily.
“It’s not just about relocating but about changing the model.”
With the pandemic, companies have become aware of their vulnerability and the risks of bottlenecks. Today, as a result, they “reconsider the origin of their purchases and build up stocks”, even if it costs them more, explains the New York Times. A “reconfiguration of global production that risks fueling long-lasting inflation”. But who could also participate in the creation of more virtuous modes of production.
Inflation and purchasing power have been heavily discussed in recent weeks, during the campaign for the presidential election in France, but also in many countries affected by soaring prices. This is why this issue, which is far removed from current events on the ground in Ukraine – also dealt with at length in this issue, with a long report from the FinancialTimes in Finland – but which has everything to do with the consequences of the conflict, seemed to us to be essential. These are questions that are both economic and geopolitical, issues that may seem distant but which resonate with our daily lives.
“The concept of globalization has been abused for years now, under the effect of economic rivalries, the closing of factories in rich countries, but also of these voices which rise and believe that the opening of trade borders does not is not in the national interest, especially in a crisis situation”, Write the Wall Street Journal. The war in Ukraine could further accelerate the movement.
The sanctions against Russia are indeed a fatal blow to free trade as it was defined when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was created in 1995, the American daily believes.
“Russia’s accession to the WTO in 2012 completed, in some ways, decades of efforts to tear down the bloc system that characterized the global economy at the end of World War II. world until the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
Today, the newspaper warns, the world risks returning to a dangerous logic of blocks in trade.
What do we gain from it in the long term? Should democracies maintain normal relations with autocratic regimes? Is turning in on oneself the solution? wonders The Economist. The answer is not self-evident for this very liberal weekly.
More categorical, The Guardian sees, on the contrary, an opportunity to be seized in this reconfiguration of all-out globalization. States must regain control of their economy, pleads the British daily, and think more about protecting their citizens and the planet. “The current model of globalization is the result of deliberate political choices, writes a newspaper columnist, and the future will also be dictated by deliberate political choices.” The debate has begun.