(June 19): For nearly three decades, global supply chains were the quiet engines of economic globalisation. From 1990 to 2008, they drove the rapid expansion of trade, accounting for 60–70% of its growth. More than a decade later, however, they have stalled — and may in some areas be going into reverse.

The strain on global supply chains partly reflects the turn by many governments toward protectionist policies since the openness of the world economy peaked in 2011. And now, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a supply-shock recession. The related uncertainty may slow the expansion of global value chains by at least 35%. Indeed, world trade is no longer expanding faster than world GDP. If this continues, companies will reshore manufacturing from Asia and elsewhere.

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