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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- March 11, 2021

  Supply Chain by the Numbers for March, 11, 2021

Walmart with Another Pledge to Buy American; China Plans to Dominate Manufacturing Even More; Rod Stewart Ships his Train Set; US Trade Deficit Expands in January, but Down with China


$350 Billion

That's how much Walmart plans to invest in products made, grown or assembled in the United States over the next 10 years, a move it says it says will help create 750,000 jobs. About two-thirds of Walmart's current US store assortment is made, assembled or grown in the US, according to a company spokesman. With the move, the retailer said US products will become an even larger part of its sourcing execution. The world's largest retailer said last week it is committing to source a wide range of American-made products, focusing on six product categories: textiles, plastics, small electrical appliances, food processing, and pharmaceutical and medical supplies. The announcement follows a similar commitment from 2013, when it said it would invest $250 billion in products made domestically. That program later came under scrutiny after consumer advocacy groups reported what they called misleading labels on to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2015, Walmart dropped a "Made in USA" logo from products on its web site, after a probe by the FTC and a watchdog group found the items were not US made. The company now details the percentage of a product that is US made on its label.




Perhaps surprisingly, that is how many year's China's own government says it will take to become a manufacturing nation of "great power.” That despite the fact than China currently makes more than a third of global manufacturing output. But China's leaders are concerned about its heavy dependence on the US for high-tech products such as semiconductors. " Basic capabilities are still weak" Miao Wei, who was Minister of Industry and Information Technology for a decade and still a government advisor, warned in a speech Sunday. Last year, Chinese manufacturing accounted for slightly over a quarter of GDP, the lowest level since 2012. "The ratio of manufacturing output to GDP has been declining too early and too quickly" Miao said in a speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China also laid out its draft economic plan for the next five years, which calls to speed up the development of advanced technologies from chips to artificial intelligence. The blueprint also reiterates China's desire to increase competitiveness in aircraft development, robotics and new-energy vehicles. The initiatives follow repeated blocks on China's access to US technology under the Trump administration, resulting in Chinese companies such as Huawei being cut off from buying critical components.




That is amazingly the number of ocean shipping containers that rock star Rod Stewart is using to ship his prized model railroad set up from Los Angeles to his native United Kingdom. It will have travelled approximately 5,454 miles from LA to when the containers make it to Essex. A source close to the Scottish star said: "It's no secret Rod is mad keen on his model railway. He treats them like the crown jewels,” according to the UK's The Sun newspaper. Stewart is moving back to Britain to be closer to some of his children. He started the collection 28 years ago with a set up that covered some 1500 square feet, and has been expanded from there. It includes skyscrapers, bridges, a rush-hour traffic scene, "transition era" facilities for both steam and diesel traction and a power station. It sounds like the system is being moved in big sections without being broken all the way down. No word on what it is costing the 76-year old rocker for the move.




$260.2 Billion

That was the US trade deficit in January, up 1.9% from December according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department. That number includes both goods and service. US imports rose 1.2% for the month, versus a 1.0% rise in exports, off of a much smaller number than the level of imports. However, the politically sensitive deficit in trade in goods with China declined to $26.25 billion from $27.23 billion in December. Exports to China fell 12.2% to $12.86 billion, while imports declined 6.6% to $39.11 billion. For all of 2020, the trade deficit with China fell to $310 billion from $345 billion in 2019 and a record $419 billion in 2018. That decline in the trade deficit in 2020 was probably the effect of the virus pandemic for part of the year, and some impact from the Trump administration's tariffs on Chinese imports.

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