“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. Automakers and battery producers are in a bit of a bind over China’s move to restrict graphite exports, Reuters reports. Japanese, South Korean, and US producers of anodes—the negative electrode of batteries—are particularly reliant on Chinese supplies of both natural and synthetic graphite. Further, while Chinese batteries makers have embraced synthetic graphite, their foreign counterparts have been slow to make the shift, adding another layer of asymmetry in the effects of China’s graphite curbs.
2. Embraer, the Brazilian multinational aerospace corporation, is gearing up to expand operations in China. Its CEO Francisco Gomes Neto tells The Air Current that deepening geopolitical ties between Brazil and China makes the company’s eastward expansion “natural.” Neto’s comments come several months after Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met Xi Jinping in Beijing and made clear that he wanted to work with China to reinvigorate the South American country’s industrial sector.
3. Chinese authorities detained a Chinese staffer working at a Japanese rare metals trading firm back in March, Nikkei Asia reports. Separately and concurrently, a Chinese employee of a Chinese state-owned nonferrous-metals form with reported business ties with the Japanese trading house was also reportedly detained. Both individuals reportedly oversaw rare metals trading.
4. Russian and Chinese companies inked a raft of cooperation deals this week at a regional conference held in China’s northeastern Liaoning province. The deals covered industries including manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, and e-commerce, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, in another sign of deepening Sino-Russian ties, Russian aluminum giant Rusal’s bought a 30% stake in Chinese raw materials suppliers Hebei Wenfeng New Materials (HWNM). Reuters called the investment “a significant marker in the reconfiguration of the global aluminum map.”
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