Trendwatch: EU’s green rules clash with trade goals as India talks resume; Iran aims to boost oil output, complicating OPEC+ and US efforts; How China’s new restrictions on critical minerals will affect global sourcing strategies

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EU’s green rules clash with trade goals as India talks resume

The European Union and India will try to advance talks on a trade deal this week as the bloc’s demands for strict sustainability requirements have become a key stumbling block.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis will discuss the proposed pact with Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal on the sidelines of a Group of 20 trade meeting in India, as both sides seek to diversify their economies away from China.

The EU has a strong interest in sealing the trade deal but the bloc’s sustainability regime is complicating its trade negotiations across a number of countries, people familiar with the matter said. The bloc needs to figure out how to communicate more clearly that green elements in the trade talks are legally required to avoid being labeled as protectionist, the people added.



Hong Kong International cargo volumes continue to recover

Hong Kong International Airport saw its cargo volumes continue to grow in July as it registered a year-on-year improvement for the second month in a row.

The airport saw its cargo volumes increase by 3.8% year on year in July to 361,000 tonnes.

The increase follows on from an improvement in June, but declines in April and May.

“Exports contributed the most to the overall increase in cargo volume in July, rising by 12.6% compared to the same month last year,” the airport authority said. “Traffic to and from key trading regions in North America, the Middle East and Europe rose considerably during the month.”

Air Cargo News


Iran aims to boost oil output, complicating OPEC+ and US efforts

Iran plans to keep raising oil production as back-door diplomatic efforts with the US appear to be easing pressure on the Middle Eastern nation.

The Islamic republic expects to boost production to 3.4 million barrels a day by the end of summer, according to Oil Minister Javad Owji. That would put output near Iran’s capacity limit of 3.8 million barrels a day. The country has already boosted production by about 50% over the past two years, according to comments Owji made toIranian parliament’s energy committee reported by the ministry’s news service Shana.



How China’s new restrictions on critical minerals will affect global sourcing strategies

The latest skirmish in the trade war between the U.S. and China provides yet another reminder of why American high-tech manufacturers need to diversify their supply of critical raw materials, including so-called rare earth elements (REEs).

Earlier this summer, China announced restrictions on the export of gallium and germanium, two metals used in semiconductors and electric vehicles. The action was widely believed to be in retaliation for the Biden Administration’s move to restrict exports of advanced semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China.

China accounts for around half of U.S. manufacturers’ supplies of gallium and germanium, and 94% and 83%, respectively, of the world’s supply. Further curbs by China on the export of critical minerals are likely, says Sandeep Rao, head of research with Leverage Shares, a provider of exchange traded products (ETPs), the prices of which are geared to the value of major commodities producers on exchange markets, calculated on a daily basis.

Supply Chain Brain


Denmark allocates $3.9B to carbon capture/storage as it accelerates timing

Denmark announced a comprehensive plan for carbon capture and storage that includes significant government support as the country also accelerates its timeline while saying that CO2 capture and storage is one of several critical tools to achieve climate goals in Denmark, Europe, and the rest of the world. The announcement of the new plan comes just a week after Denmark postponed its second tender for offshore CO2 storage saying the government needed to finalize a comprehensive plan that resolved government participation in the industry.

“We are moving the requirement for full capture from 2030 to 2029 so that we get more CO2 from the air and into the underground faster,” said says Climate, Energy and Supply Minister Lars Aagaard during a briefing about the new plan at Avedøreværket, a power station just south of Copenhagen. “The plan must also ensure a clearer framework for the burgeoning industry and in this way bring the Danish CCS industry up in scale and down in price. It may well be that it's geeky, but it's in the geekery that things happen.”

The Maritime Executive


WTO backs US in challenge of China’s retaliatory tariffs

  • The World Trade Organization ruled Wednesday that China violated its trade agreements when it placed tariffs on U.S. exports in retaliation for steel and aluminum duties imposed by the Trump administration in 2018.

  • A WTO panel said former President Donald Trump acted in the legitimate security interests of the United States when he placed 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminum. As a result, China’s retaliatory tariffs on agricultural goods and other products are “inconsistent” with a fundamental trade commitment reached in 1994.

  • China levied tariffs as high as 25% on 128 U.S. products including pork, almonds and a number of fresh fruits and vegetables. The panel recommended China reverse the tariffs and “bring its WTO inconsistent measure into conformity with its obligations.”

Supply Chain Dive


Three in four companies will be using robotic automation by 2027

Roughly 75% of companies plan on using some type of robotic automation within their warehouses by 2027, said Dwight Klappich, vice president of consulting firm Gartner’s Supply Chain Practice.

A study by Gartner, entitled “Hype Cycle for Mobile Robots and Drones, 2023,” released August 17, found that many organizations already use mobile robots and plan on expanding their fleets over the next three years. Smart mobile robot adoption is expected to easily outpace the adoption of drones within supply chains over the next three years, according to a summary of the report.

Gartner believes companies will also begin to use drones in more specific ways, such as inspections of medicines being transported to remote areas.

Supply Chain Brain