The World Trade Category

Study: Conflict gold from Africa may be in U.S. markets, passing through major companies

An October 2018 study released by a watchdog group that focuses on Africa has highlighted concerns that gold mined from conflict areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is making its way into international markets and becoming integrated in the supply chains of major U.S. companies. Documents reviewed and interviews carried out by The Sentry, a team of policy experts and financial auditors co-founded by George Clooney, raise concerns that the corporate network controlled by Belgian tycoon Alain Goetz, director at the Belgian gold refinery Tony Goetz N.V., has refined illegally smuggled conflict gold from eastern DRC at the African Gold Refinery (AGR) in Uganda and subsequently exported it through a series of companies to the U.S. and Europe. The study lists companies like Amazon, General Electric and Sony as possibly being ones that conflict gold may have been sold to.

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Can the New NAFTA Fix the Low Milk Price Problem in the U.S.?

diary cow deaths

Since the start of 2017, U.S. milk prices have declined 27%. Concerns over international trade and an oversupply of milk have put downward pressure on prices. Global trade tensions have slowed demand for U.S. exports, and a weakened Euro has stimulated demand for European dairy instead. Meanwhile, milk production has been increasing, driven by favorable weather and pasture conditions, and continuous improvement in farming methods. This is a concern for U.S. dairy farmers whose margins and profits have been squeezed by low prices. However, in light of the recent renegotiation of the NAFTA deal, is there a ray of light for the U.S. dairy industry?

Trade Wars, China Hack and Fast Fashion Put Reshoring of Jobs in Spotlight

sustainability

The likelihood of reshoring jobs to the U.S. or Europe from places like Asia seems to be gaining momentum in light of ongoing trade wars, fears over the possible China microchip hack that attacked the U.S. supply chain, and the reality of market forces like “fast fashion” and customer demand that typically drive business decisions. Current events and a recent study of the apparel industry can help gauge the state of the world as it feels the push and pull of globalism versus the rise in national policies.

Commodities Roundup: Aluminum Output Up, Palladium Sets Record and Indian Gold Demand

conflict minerals

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, we scour the landscape for what matters. This week: Aluminum Output Up, Palladium Hits High, India Flooded by Metals, Gold Sales in India Not Festive.

South America’s Gold Supply Chain Poses Big Risks for Procurement, Report Says

If your company sources and buys gold, then the message from some recent research is loud and clear: Watch your step in South America. The market there and its role in the global gold supply chain is a tremendous cause for corporate concern, according to a Thomson Reuters white paper. Evidently, the promise of huge profits based on higher gold prices — and fueled by rampant corruption — have created a vast supply chain problem on the continent.

Economic Outlook: Procurement Should Expect Headwinds and a Downturn Ahead

e-procurement market outlook

KKR’s David McNellis, the head of research for KKR’s Global Macro and Asset Allocation Team, shares his views on the macro economy, with a forecast for a downturn in the U.S. and other countries. Of note to procurement professionals are McNellis' view on inflation and commodities outlooks, as well as the top four risks that businesses need to prepare for heading into 2020.

With USMCA Done, Supply Chain Professionals Can Get Down to Work

sustainability

Procurement and supply chain professionals reacted to the new USMCA trade deal this week with relief that they now know what to focus on in a post-NAFTA landscape — and that they can begin figuring out how the pact fits with ongoing tariff disputes with China. Trade negotiators on Sunday finalized the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a new pact that will replace NAFTA. After about two years of turmoil, the deal was welcome news for supply chain professionals because it removed uncertainty from their planning processes.

Global Companies Shift Gears to Stay Locally Relevant in the ‘Age of Multi-Localism’

supplier network

In the 1980s and ’90s, companies gained prestige by going global. Recently, globalization has come under fire from multiple fronts, causing the locally integrated business model to become the new goal for many companies. Pressure is coming from forces such as political rhetoric creating more trade barriers, consumers’ preference for personalized, local goods, and technological advances that change the dynamics of the basic business model, so companies must turn away from strategies that focus on globally integrated value chains and focus on thriving locally in each market that they serve, according to a study released in September by A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council.

Commodities Roundup: Excess Steel Capacity, Oil Prices and U.S.-China Trade

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, our MetalMiner editors scour the landscape for what mattered this week.

Commodities Roundup: Catalytic Converter Thefts, A $200 Billion Tariff Announcement

For the buyers and category managers out there, especially those of you deep in the weeds of buying and managing commodities, here’s a quick rundown of news and thoughts from particular commodity markets. From price movements to policy decisions, our MetalMiner editors scour the landscape for what mattered this week.

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How to Proactively Defend Against Supply Chain Risks from Section 232 and 301 Tariffs

trade

The escalating U.S.-China trade war has put billions of dollars of Chinese imports under tariffs — but thousands of Chinese products are about to fall under additional duties. Off the back of the Trump administration's Section 232 investigation, which resulted in steel and aluminum tariffs, the recently finalized Section 301 investigation has targeted numerous Chinese products. Many procurement organizations have been following the investigation and its potential effects on their supply chains, but knowing exactly how a decision could introduce risk on a part, supplier and regional level has been far from easy. To shield their businesses from uncertain trade risks, procurement organizations need to take a proactive approach.

Tariffs: A Black Cloud Marring the 2019 Commodity Outlook

There was one word that loomed over the proceedings at The Right Place/Supply Chain Management Council's Commodity Trends 2019 Outlook event Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan: Tariffs. From the multiple expert presentations to numerous audience questions and comments on the topic, it didn’t take much to pinpoint the effects of tariffs as a recurring theme of the half-day conference, at which MetalMiner Executive Editor Lisa Reisman presented our 2019 metals outlook. Indeed, the current onslaught of tariffs — including those implemented under Sections 201, 232 and 301 of U.S. trade law — seemed to be one of the primary concerns on everyone’s minds.