Report: U.S. companies adapting to produce coronavirus supplies will reverse globalization

Solvay, a polymer-specialist company in the mid-Ohio Valley with operations in Washington and Pleasants counties, has partnered with Paragon, a medical-supplies development company to create a special shield for health care workers.

Officials at Memorial Health System told local news outlets they are grateful for the new equipment and for the innovations of U.S. companies that have quickly manufactured necessary equipment needed in the fight against the coronavirus. They said they will continue to use the equipment even after the coronavirus subsides.

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp announced the Georgia Suppliers Interactive Map and List, which includes a list of more than 220 companies providing needed protective supplies in Georgia.

“When we asked Georgia businesses to aid with needed supplies in our fight against COVID-19, they answered that call,” Kemp said. “… this new resource will help Georgia companies source the supplies necessary for keeping their employees and customers safe, while remaining open for business.”

In April, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, more than 1,000 companies responded to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s call within weeks to provide needed supplies to fight the coronavirus.

In addition to the companies listed by Tech Crunch and Forbes, numerous companies and large and small businesses have changed their operations or added technological productions to provide PPE and other supplies to medical workers.

A recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) white paper suggests that these, among many other manufacturing trends, will reverse globalization, reshape global trade and reduce dependence on Chinese manufacturing.

The accelerated move toward developing regional supply chains has been a game-changer, EIU notes.

China’s dominance in international trade grew after it was accepted into the World Trade Organization in 2001. But after the coronavirus outbreak, “it is likely that this period of globalization will not only come to a halt, it will reverse,” the report states, adding that COVID-19 “will push more companies in other sectors to relocate parts of their supply chains. The outcome of this will be an Asian supply chain network that is both less China-focused and more diverse.”

“By building quasi-independent regional supply chains in the Americas and Europe, a global company will provide a hedge against future shocks to their network,” the EIU report states. “For those companies that have this luxury already, they have been able to shift production of key components from one region to another as lockdowns and factory closures resulting from coronavirus have unfolded.”

EIA also adds that, “The trade war is likely to continue after the U.S. election in November 2020, regardless of the outcome, as issues of technological dominance drive tensions between the world’s two largest economies.”

Greg Kozera, director of marketing and sales at Shale Crescent USA, argues that American companies today have responded to developing vital resources needed to combat the coronavirus similarly to how Americans answered the call on the home front during World War II. From 1941-1945, the U.S. produced more planes, weapons, ships and ammunition than Germany and Japan did.

Today, American companies quickly switched from building cars to manufacturing ventilators, from making bourbon or tequila to tons of hand sanitizers.

Raw materials for all of the products being used on the front lines in the health care industry come from oil and gas, Kozera explains, which is why, he argues, the U.S. needs “a strong U.S. oil and gas industry to fuel new manufacturing and provide feedstock for essential products.

“There are groups and even politicians who want to keep our fossil fuels in the ground depriving our heroes of essential weapons for their war against COVID-19,” he adds. “Wind and solar provide only one product, intermittent electricity, and need fossil fuels for their manufacture. Like in WWII, to win this and future wars we need to have our fuel and feedstocks produced in the U.S.,” and reduce reliance on OPEC.



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