EU’s man­u­fac­tur­ing mus­cle

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

Some feel wor­ried that the United States’ in­ten­si­fied ef­forts to bring US man­u­fac­tur­ing en­ter­prises over­seas back to the US will di­rectly af­fect China. How­ever, the re­ju­ve­na­tion of the US man­u­fac­tur­ing, if it ma­te­ri­al­izes, is ex­pected to have the most di­rect reper­cus­sions for Europe, given the sim­i­lar­ity of Europe’s in­dus­trial struc­ture to that of the US.

Com­pared with Europe, the US en­joys more at­trac­tive­ness in terms of en­ergy prices, ow­ing to its ex­ploita­tion of shale oil and gas re­sources. While the high-wel­fare and high-tax poli­cies widely adopted by Euro­pean coun­tries also give the US an up­per hand.

And in con­trast to the Barack Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s firm im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies en­cour­ag­ing the reshoring of US man­u­fac­tur­ing en­ter­prises and pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s vow to hit US en­ter­prises that shift pro­duc­tion lines over­seas and cut taxes for US-based ones, the United King­dom’s im­pend­ing break­away from the Euro­pean Union and the emer­gence of pop­ulist forces across Europe have in­creased the pres­sures on the bloc and put Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ing in an even more dis­ad­van­ta­geous po­si­tion.

How­ever, the im­proved man­u­fac­tur­ing sit­u­a­tion in Ger­many, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK in­di­cate Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ing has not yet been ex­ces­sively af­fected by a re­viv­ing US man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

Euro­pean coun­tries’ tra­di­tional in­dus­trial foun­da­tion and lead­ing tech­nolo­gies in such fields as ro­bots mean that Europe’s man­u­fac­tur­ing ad­van­tages will un­likely be crip­pled. And con­cur­rent with the US’ bid to re­vive its man­u­fac­tur­ing are the for­mu­la­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of poli­cies by Euro­pean coun­tries aimed at their in­dus­trial re­vival.

Be­sides Ger­many, at least an­other 10 EU coun­tries have also mapped out na­tional strate­gies to pro­mote their man­u­fac­tur­ing up­grad­ing and im­prove­ment.

The strength­en­ing, not weak­en­ing of Euro­pean man­u­fac­tur­ing in the face of the US’ re-in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion strat­egy of­fers China ex­pe­ri­ences from which it can learn how to deal with an ever-fiercer man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pe­ti­tion world­wide.

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