CUTS Washington Monthly Brief
#25, April 2020
Possible Implications of China’s Alleged Role in the Global Pandemic
The advent of year 2020 came in the backdrop of an unfolding consensus between the United States and China to end their trade war, albeit in a phased manner. However, at the onset, the already unsteady global businesses got struck with a rampant public health crisis due to spread of COVID-19. That has also inflicted unprecedented socio-economic and human costs worldwide.
This is not to say that such health crises never happened before. But in an increasingly inter-connected world, that too with specialised oversight by supra-national bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO), delay in China’s responsibility for critical information sharing in a timely manner cannot be justified. Despite Taiwan’s advance warning on 31st December, 2019, the WHO took a month to declare the spread of novel Coronavirus as a public health emergency of international concern and that too without any advisory on travel restrictions. It was followed by the Organisation’s further terming of the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic on 11th March, 2020. The horses had bolted from the stables.
Thus, there is no surprise about emerging views and news about the allegation that China made the WHO dance to its tune and cover up their initial collective failures. The magnitude of this blunder has gone from bad to worse. Until recently, COVID-19 has infected more than three million people globally and caused more than 200,000 deaths. But China’s intransigence for being in a denial mode while not allowing a proper investigation is proving to be counter-productive for the country.
The world may indeed take longer to recover from COVID-19. However, the resultant international backlash against China may trigger a paradigm shift – that is, from a ‘China- centric to a more diverse global supply chains’. This trend has ostensibly begun. Countries including Japan and South Korea are ready to assist their businesses shift manufacturing bases from China. India too has restricted China’s opportunistic takeover of Indian firms.  This came in the backdrop of 56 firms that had already left China between April 2018 and August 2019, owing to the Sino-U.S. trade conflict. Is it the beginning of Flying Geese of another kind?

Meanwhile, the worsening of the COVID-19 situation in the U.S., besides President Trump’s vehement allegations on China, is likely to worsen bilateral trade normalisation. In a latest move, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has even asked Chinese telecommunication companies to prove they are not their government’s puppets.

Keeping this in mind, particularly in the context of its ramifications in a holistic manner, countries such as India should not just pre-empt but assist global businesses to adjust to a new and emerging geo-economic reality.
Pradeep S. Mehta

P. S. With his America First policy and recently by cutting the WHO funding at a critical juncture, has President Trump flared up the American public opinion in his favour?

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What is the impact of Donald Trump’s immigration ban on skilled workers from India?
The immediate context of his proposal is the teetering U.S. economy, which, like many others across the world, has ground to a virtual halt in the face of the pandemic. The deeper context to the announcement is the fact that Mr. Trump is seeking re-election in the November 2020 election against the presumptive Democratic nominee, former U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden.

Xi fears Japan-led manufacturing exodus from China
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed building an economy that is less dependent on one country, China, so that the nation can better avoid supply chain disruptions. The call touched off a heated debate in the Chinese political world. In Zhongnanhai, the area in central Beijing where leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and the state government have their offices, "there are now serious concerns over foreign companies withdrawing from China," a Chinese economic source said. 
WTO, IMF Ask Nations to Stop Imposing Export Restrictions
The World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund asked nations to stop imposing or intensifying export and other trade restrictions and to lift those put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Export restrictions can be dangerously counterproductive,” the institutions said in a joint statement Friday. “Such measures disrupt supply chains, depress production, and misdirect scarce, critical products and workers away from where they are most needed.”

Covid-19 crisis shows supply chains need to embrace new technologies
Hospitals desperate for supplies and empty supermarket shelves have become hallmarks of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. While governmental decisions and factory shutdowns have attracted most of the blame, the crisis has thrust the widespread confusion that plagues global supply chains throughout the year into the global spotlight.


Transforming the energy system—a post-COVID-19 win-win for people and planet
As large parts of the world hunker down and social distance to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, more and more research is being released and studied suggesting that we can build back better to create a healthy, resilient, prosperous, just, and decarbonized world after the current crisis dies down.
World’s largest solar project will also be its cheapest
Abu Dhabi has set a global record-low solar price as authorities confirmed the winning bid in a 2-gigawatt tender. Upon its expected completion in mid-2022, it is slated to be the largest single-site solar energy project in the world.The Al Dhafra project had five bidders, with the lowest offer coming in at 1.35 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour.

The world may never recover its thirst for oil
The coronavirus pandemic has destroyed demand for gasoline and jet fuel as billions of people stay home, and there's no guarantee it will ever fully recover despite rock-bottom prices.The oil industry is bracing for the effects of the crisis to linger. Employees keep working from home. International travel stays scarce. And citizens in once polluted cities, having become accustomed to blue skies, demand tougher emissions controls, encouraging governments to redouble efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
Energy Transition: Coal As The Canary
While the coronavirus creates acute, emergency needs for many households and communities, the kinds of social safety net measures that can cushion the impact in this current crisis have similarities to those needed for longer-term clean energy transitions. Recovery from this pandemic may offer opportunities to recover with a lower-carbon and more equitable economy. 


Beijing moves to strengthen grip over disputed South China Sea
Beijing has moved to tighten its grip over the South China Sea by setting up new administrative structures in the disputed waters. The two new districts will be under the authority of the local government in Sansha, a city in the southern island of Hainan.The new districts will govern the Paracels and Macclesfield Bank – an area claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan – as well as the Spratly Islands and their adjacent waters, where there are multiple overlapping claims.
The World Needs to Prevent Post-Pandemic Economic Conflicts
While the world is preoccupied coping with the human toll wrecked by the coronavirus pandemic, the stage is rapidly being set for profound global economic conflicts in the months ahead. Necessary immediate economic measures now underway, coupled with further inevitable recovery initiatives, are bound to aggravate long-festering policy differences between China, Europe, Japan, and the United States.
India can collaborate with the US and Germany in moulding a new world order
One hundred years ago, there were no visas and passports for people to travel in Europe, America and their colonies. Then came World War I and things changed — national boundaries became rigid. Economic stagnation, and recession followed. Nationalism turned into ultra-nationalism, leading to another world war. After World War II, we created an interconnected and institutionalised global order.

US tightens restrictions on technology exports to China, Russia and Venezuela
The Trump Administration announced new export control actions to prevent efforts by entities in China, Russia, and Venezuela to acquire American technology that could be used for development of weapons, military aircraft, surveillance through civilian supply chains. "It is important to consider the ramifications of doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from US companies for military applications," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on April 27th, 2020.


Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal
In a webinar organised by Confederation of Indian Industry on April 27th 2020, a roadmap for public, private and social sector leaders to navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic and adapt to the next normal was provided by Shubham Singhal, global leader of McKinsey’s Healthcare Systems & Services Practice. It was based on his co-authored article titled ‘’Beyond coronavirus: The path to the next normal’’ published by McKinsey. 

The Intricate Dance of Politics and Power During a Pandemic
A commonplace adage of the post-Cold War era of globalisation used to be that while ‘all economics is global, all politics is local’. The implication was that a country’s economics and politics danced to different tunes. There was one problem with this formulation. All economics is also political and since all politics is local, all economics in the end is also local.
How coronavirus exposed the collapse of global leadership
As car crash interviews go, Bruce Aylward's was excruciating and revealing in equal measure. In late March, Alyward, a Canadian epidemiologist and adviser to the World Health Organization, was asked by Radio Television Hong Kong reporter Yvonne Tong whether Taiwan would continue to be denied WHO membership, given longstanding objections from China.

The Architecture of International Relations After COVID-19: A Return to the ‘New Normal’
The international crisis triggered by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has sparked a wave of predictions about a new world order. Many prominent politicians and scholars, including Henry Kissinger, believe that the pandemic will result in a global economic downturn, the worst since the Great Depression, which in turn will affect the system of international relations that developed after the end of the Cold War.