The BBC broadcaster made the revelation while commenting on changing scenarios in Europe, as leaders shift priorities to help better respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew Neil pointed out French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled such plans when he said supply chains will have to become “more French”. Germany’s health minister announced similar measures and said the country shouldn’t be dependent on other nations for medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE).
President Macron addressed the nation on Monday, as more than 36 million people tuned in to hear his latest update on the coronavirus crisis.
He announced France’s lockdown would be extended until May 11 and apologised for the Government’s initial failings, particularly over the lack of masks and equipment.
As a result, it appears Mr Macron wants to shift away from globalisation, to avoid reliance on other countries.
During Monday’s address, he praised French companies and businesses for responding quickly to his calls for more PPE.
He said as a result of their quick efforts: “We have been able to increase the production of masks by five-fold.”
Mr Macron added they have also been able to substantially increase the availability of ventilators.
Commenting on last night’s televised address by the French President, Mr Neil said: “When even President Macron says supply chains will have to become more French, from food to pharma, then you know globalisation will be in serious retreat in 2020s.”
At the start of the pandemic, Mr Macron suggested the country was going to have to change its supply chain habits in response to the outbreak.
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He said: “We are living through a profoundly new period that forces us to ask ourselves questions we haven’t asked ourselves [about things] like supply and production chains.
“We are going to change our habits, but everything can’t stop … we must take the time to organise ourselves, and see what is adaptable.”
But France isn’t the only country to suggest changes to its supply chains, with German health minister Jens Spahn suggesting the country should change its approach towards globalisation.
He said: “We need to discuss the right degree of globalisation.
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“For medicines and protective gear we shouldn’t be that dependent on other regions.
“Security more important than economic efficiency.”
Professor Richard Portes, an economics professor at London Business School, said it seems obvious that trading patterns will have to change as officials will have realised the risks they were taking by importing goods from other countries.
He told the BBC: “Look at trade. Once supply chains were disrupted [by coronavirus], people started looking for alternative suppliers at home, even if they were more expensive.
“If people find domestic suppliers, they will stick with them… because of those perceived risks.”
Professor Beata Javorcik, chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, agrees and thinks Western manufacturing companies will start re-shoring, which means bringing work back home.
She said: “They will re-shore activities that can be automated, because re-shoring brings certainty.
“You do not have to worry about your national trade policy, and it also gives you an opportunity to diversify your supplier base.”
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