The Week in Trade: Green targets hit hard and possible deflation on the horizon?

Fri 9 Feb 2024
Posted by: Danielle Keen

A tricky week in the world of trade has seen teething issues and projected setbacks for the new Border Target Operating Model and a host of concessions on green targets in the EU as cheap imports prompted farmer protests. This news was followed by headlines on Labour “standing down” its £28bn green investment pledge.

In lighter news, IOE&IT has been celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, including the work of its delivery arm, IOEx, as it sets about building a comprehensive apprenticeship programme for traders.

The big picture: The FT reports predictions that Chinese exporters slashing prices amid an overheating domestic economy could lead to global deflation this year. Among the possible consequences are “sustained demand for Latin American, African, Kazakh or Indonesian commodities,” according to Charles Robertson, head of macro strategy at FIM Partners

Before you start drawing up a shopping list of discount goods to buy, economists are mixed on how much impact the cuts will have on advanced economies.    

Good week/bad week: While much of the focus on semiconductor development is centred on growing competition between China and the US, amid the latter’s export controls, there was good news for the UK’s industry this week. The government unveiled new funding for several projects this week, including two new Knowledge and Innovation Centres. 

It’s been a bad week for the net zero in Europe, as widespread farmer dissent has led to successive rollbacks on green targets, most notably this week’s removal of a commitment to cut methane, nitrogen and other gas emissions by 30%. 

How’s stat? 17% - the amount remaining of Labour’s 2021 flagship pledge to invest £28bn a year in green initiatives. In another climate hit, Keir Starmer yesterday (8 February) “stood down” the initial number and scaled it back to £4.7bn

The week in customs: The Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) recommended on Wednesday (7 February) that anti-dumping measures on Chinese imports of Corrosion Resistant Steel (CRS) remain in place.  

The authority suggested duties of between 17.2% to 27.9% are kept for a further five years.  

Quote of the week: “When you have that many steps right off the bat, there will always be teething problems… Post-delivery checks may be something that DEFRA considers in this environment, which is why it’s very important to ensure the information on the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) is correct.”

IOE&IT trade and customs consultant, Laura Williams, speaking about the impact of delays at Dover ports.

What else we covered this week: Benjamin Roche surveyed all the latest trade news from Russia, including the growth of the Yuan amid rising China trade and ongoing problems enforcing sanction bans. 

As National Apprenticeship Week draws to a close, Richard Cree explores the value of the qualification for those seeking to develop a career in trade.

Phillip Adnett looked ahead to the rest of the year in his regular Commodity in Focus feature.

William Barns Graham encouraged us all to have a cheeky nip of the good stuff in his celebration of International Scotch Day.

True facts: Today is National Pizza Day – an international celebration of the popular Italian dish. 

The world’s longest pizza delivery – a cross-border trip of over 19,000km, was completed in 2006 by Paul French, who delivered the order from Wellington, New Zealand to Madrid, Spain over the course of three days. A good job that cold pizza tastes so good.