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Post-Covid - Préparation au protectionisme économique

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[Rédacté pour la citation, l'article est plus complet]

"It will be a new world," Quebec's economy minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, said in a recent interview.

Fitzgibbon is expecting that not only will consumer behaviour change, so, too, will the behaviour of governments around the world. Most governments will be heavily indebted from the expensive emergency relief measures needed to support millions of unemployed workers and backstop thousands of businesses.  

"There is going to be a geopolitical environment of increased protectionism," he said.

In that context, Quebec needs to rethink how it secures stable access to the goods and services needed to keep its economy, and society, running smoothly, he said. "Because depending on international markets will be less desirable, it will be very important for us to target what we want to protect in terms of supply chains."

The best way to do that, Fitzgibbon said, is making parts of the Quebec economy less reliant on imports.

Quebec has already announced a buy-local initiative, the Panier Bleu, an inventory of made-in-Quebec products. 

But the government is also in the early stages of exploring how to ensure more pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and food is produced within the province. 

"I think all countries will want to be self-sufficient when it comes to strategic goods," Fitzgibbon said.

Many were already thinking that way early in the crisis, when China began shutting down its factories to deal with the outbreak. Recent events have only reinforced that mindset.
"That definitely sparked a lot of introspection about the economy," Fitzgibbon said.

Have supply chains become too fragile?

At his daily news conference in Quebec City, Premier François Legault often indicates how many days worth of supplies remain for critical items such as surgical gloves and gowns, and more recently, the chemicals required to perform COVID-19 tests. 

The inability of global supply chains to deliver such products during the pandemic has prompted questions about how manufacturing processes are organized.

In making supply chains so efficient, have they become too fragile to withstand minor, let alone major disruptions? 

"This is a major crisis, but there will be other crises. And we're learning that you can't be overly dependent on one source," said Michèle Rioux, a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she heads a research centre on globalization. 

Slaying Quebec's trade deficit

There are two dimensions to the Quebec government's plan to make the economy more resilient in the post-COVID world. Fitzgibbon wants to see Quebec increase its capacity to produce strategic medical supplies. He said a local company will begin making a variant of 3M's N95 mask.

And going forward, he hinted, the provincial government will invest more in the agriculture industry, helping it produce more fruit and vegetables by building more greenhouses and mechanizing harvest.

The other dimension of Fitzgibbon's plan is tackling Quebec's $20-billion international trade imbalance.

This, he insists, doesn't entail a rejection of free trade. The government will push Quebec businesses to invest more in technology to increase the efficiency of their factories, an area where they've lagged their competitors. The hope is that such investments will reduce labour costs and make Quebec products more appealing to local consumers, reducing the need for imports, while at the same time making them more competitive in export markets as well. 

"I've been speaking with a lot of manufacturers who are either partially shut down or shut down entirely. They're thinking about how to take advantage of this time to invest in new automation," Proulx said. 

"We do need to increase our competitiveness if we still want to be here in 10, 15 or 20 years."

But if Quebec is serious about addressing its trade imbalance, it will have to be willing to "level the playing field," she said. That might require provincial legislation to offset the Buy America and Buy American acts in the U.S., she said, referring to legislation that limits what foreign companies can sell to governments in the U.S.

"There is room to rethink the critical economic sectors in Quebec and Canada," she said, "as well as to think about where we would like to develop more capacity to be less dependent on external markets."

Pensez-vous que c'est le genre de truc qui va tenir? Comment le marché québécois peut-il compétitionner avec des produits pratiquement fabriqué par esclavagisme de chaîne? Est-ce que les Québécois auront envie d'acheter leur savon à vaisselle à 13$ la bouteille comparé au produit Chinois à 2$? Quel sont les mesures qui devrait être en place selon vous? Sur-taxer les produits étranger ayant leur équivalent Québécois, est enlever les taxes sur les Panier bleus? Qu'est-ce s'en pensez? 

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  • Gamin a modifié le titre pour Post-Covid - Préparation au protectionisme économique

Charles Gave. La fragilité révélée des économies mondialisées.


Il y a certaines choses qu'on va devoir continuer d'importer (on ne produit pas d'oranges ni de semi-conducteurs au Québec), mais notre potentiel (énergétique, entre autre) est bien réel et ne demande qu'à émerger. Alors, pourquoi pas.

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Il y a 1 heure, Gamin a dit :

Qu'est-ce s'en pensez? 

Du savon à vaisellle à 2$ j'ai jamais vu ça, j'achète juste du Dawn de toute façon.

13$ pour une bonne marque me dérangerait pas.

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Le Québec sobre en carbone : des débouchés pour les entreprises du Québec


Plusieurs industries ont tout intérêt à investir les marchés internationaux du sobre en carbone. À cet égard, certaines industries québécoises à forte consommation électrique peuvent bénéficier d’un avantage comparatif.


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  • 4 semaines plus tard...


Si on prend l’exemple  du savon à vaisselle ou des médicaments et qu’on analyse les ingrédients dans la bouteille ainsi que le contenant lui-même, on réalisera probablement que l’assemblage final est fait au Canada, mais que les ingrédients pour la plupart sont issues d’immenses usines pétrochimiques chinoises ou américaines. Si l’on perd cet économie d’échelle, les savons issues de graisses végétales ou animales seront des produis de substitutions compétitifs. Aussi, on va sûrement en gaspiller moins, donc en utiliser moins.




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