Free Trade’s Underlying Condition: Reuters

Individuals tend to panic and hoard during a crisis. The same is true for nations that must distribute protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic with globalization, reliable supply chains fall by the wayside. With demand running high for protective masks, the US president ordered 3M to supply US markets before Canada and Latin America.“The $80 billion company protests, pointing out that if everyone were to behave this way, all would end up worse off,” explains John Foley for Reuters, pointing out how other countries could rely on the same tactics. “The United States runs trade deficits in pharmaceuticals, and vaccines specifically.” US multinationals like 3M earn more than half their revenues from overseas and risk reputations by withholding supplies from long-time customers. “The ability to make goods where it’s cheapest and sell them where prices are best only works if customers feel they can rely on foreign supply when times get tough,” Foley writes. “Globalization can still work fine for products that aren’t life or death, and markets have short memories.” The Trump administration backed off from blocking shipments after reaching a deal with China and Canada. Economic nationalism impose higher costs for such equipment and does not compensate for lack of advance planning. – YaleGlobal

Free Trade’s Underlying Condition: Reuters

US reaches deal so 3M can sell masks to Canada, Latin America: Foreign firms could retaliate, and economic nationalism does not compensate for poor planning
John Foley
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Read the article from Reuters about the US government pressuring multinational firms to limit foreign sales of personal protective equipment.

Also read the article from the Guardian about a deal between the US government and 3M on face masks:  "The Trump administration has agreed a deal with the US manufacturer 3M to import more than 166m respirators from China over the next three months and allow 3M to continue exporting its US-made respirators."

Personal Protective Equipment:  Selected Firms, % of International Revenues: 	% Foreign revenue MSA Safety, US	37% Honeywell, US	43% Lindström Group, Finland	45% 3M, US	60% Avon Rubber, UK	60% DuPont, US	66% Ansell, Australia	95%
(Source: Business Wire, company annual reports, news reports)

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