SINGAPORE (Apr 30): The Covid-19 pandemic will accelerate growing economic nationalism in the US and China, forcing firms to consider more carefully the geopolitical and security implications of their business decisions when constructing global value chains.

According to NUS Business School Senior Fellow Alex Capri, difficulty in obtaining medical equipment like surgical masks and test kits during the Covid-19 outbreak will prompt policymakers to prioritise the national security implications of value chains. In a 2020 report for the Hinrich Foundation, he anticipated large-scale re-shoring back to local markets following the crisis to ring-fence production processes from external risks. 

Such measures come in the context of growing great power rivalry between China and the US. Amid a bitter trade dispute and a contentious technology war, both sides have developed an increased attitude of “techno-nationalism”, adopting protectionist policies to avoid losing technological superiority over their adversary and to weaken perceived threats to national security. 

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