The death of globalization and world-encompassing supply chains has been foretold so often that it is hard to imagine it might actually be happening. The September 11 attacks in 2001; the Sars virus of 2002; the controversy in the early 2000’s over offshoring services; the global financial crisis of 2008; the trade wars between Donald Trump’s US and Xi Jinping’s China.
All inflicted some damage on global trade. In particular, commerce in goods after the global financial crisis has grown more slowly relative to GDP than in the preceding decade. But while the expansion of supply chains may have decelerated, it has not stopped or gone into reverse.
Could Covid-19 be the blow that finally shatters them? Global goods trade is in freefall. The World Trade Organization forecasts this will contract between 13 per cent and 32 per cent this year. But what are the lessons for companies and governments?
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