International trade has been essential to pandemic-fighting efforts by nations across the globe. For example, during the critical phase of their outbreaks, Western nations were able to import millions of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) from Asian nations who were recovering from their initial outbreaks and lockdowns (Bown 2020a, Fiorini et al 2020). China was the source of about half of US PPE imports before Covid. Chinese exports of PPE to the US fell by 19% (relative to the same period last year) when it was suffering its worst outbreak, but with workers returning to factories from March, China rapidly scaled up production and exports. By late March, it was making 12 times more masks than it was making in 2019 (Bown 2020b). Moreover, buyers in the West haveRead More »
Articles by Baldwin, Freeman
Supply chain contagion waves: Thinking ahead on manufacturing ‘contagion and reinfection’ from the COVID concussion
COVID-19’s impact on world manufacturing is radically different than the impact caused by other pandemics over the last 100 years. This one struck all the largest manufacturing economies in the world (Figure 1) – and pretty much all at once. As a result, these nations are entering a very strange type of recession – what might be called the ‘COVID concussion.’
Figure 1 Top 10 manufacturing nations (2015) and COVID cases (31/3/2020)
Source: Authors’ elaboration of OECD TiVA data on gross manufacturing production.Notes: This figure shows each countries’ share of world manufacturing output in 2015.
The negative impact on manufacturing is not primarily