“Deglobalization” has entered the narrative zeitgeist. But what’s happening on the ground? This weekly series seeks to answer that question with a round-up of deglobalization developments from the week that’s done.
1. LG, South Korea’s battery manufacturing giant, said it would quadruple its planned investment in a new factory in Arizona, upping the dollar figure to 5.5 billion USD. “We believe it’s the right move at the right time in order to empower clean energy transition in the US,” said the company’s chief executive.
2. In his 2022 annual letter to shareholders, JP Morgan’s Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, wrote: “China, using subsidies and its economic muscle to dominate batteries, rare earths, semiconductors or EVs, could imperil national security by disrupting our access to these products and materials…We cannot cede these important resources and capabilities to another country.”
3. US Congress wants greater scrutiny of vulnerabilities posed by dozens of Chinese-made cranes at American ports across the country. Per House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, it is “extremely worrisome” that about 80% of American port cranes use Chinese software manufactured by a Chinese company.
4. As industrial competition with Washington intensifies, Beijing has slowed reviews for mergers that involve US companies – affecting proposed acquisitions including Intel’s of Israel-based Tower Semiconductor and MaxLinear’s of Taiwan’s Silicon Motion Technology. What is China asking for in order to approve transactions? For companies to make available in China the products they sell in other countries, an attempt to counter the US’s increased export controls targeting China.
5. On Friday, Beijing announced a cybersecurity review of Micron Technology, a top-tier US chipmaker. This, too, is retaliation against Washington’s effort to cut off China’s access to high-end chips.
6. Also Friday, the Japanese government said it will tighten export controls for advanced chip manufacturing equipment, joining US-led efforts that seek to stymie China’s ability to develop high-end semiconductors.
7. In 2022, the words “reshoring,” “onshoring,” and “nearshoring” appeared some 700 times in corporate reports, approximately a three-fold increase over 2021 and eight-fold since 2019. Corporate America is talking about deglobalization.
8. In War on the Rocks, Julia van der Colff argues that in an era of renewed great power conflict, and the context of a hollowed out industrial base, the US “consider building a new ‘value arms’ market that bolsters the American arsenal with massive quantities of cheap, easily reproducible, and effective weapons systems to create a hedge against current shortages and weaknesses.”
9. And in Barrons, Craig Mellow argues that as the tech exodus from China accelerates, emerging markets from Mexico to Poland, Malaysia and Vietnam are poised to benefit.
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