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U.S. States and Metros Hit the Hardest by the Drop in Oil Prices

oil prices

U.S. States and Metros Hit the Hardest by the Drop in Oil Prices

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the world economy into turmoil as lockdowns around the world have caused economic activity to grind to a halt. The demand for oil has crashed in the wake of the growing pandemic, sending oil prices diving and even dipping below $0 per barrel. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. employs close to 130,000 people in the oil and gas extraction industry. Many of these workers now face uncertain employment.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from the last two decades shows that employment in the oil and gas sector tends to rise and fall with crude oil prices. Price drops in 2014 resulting from oil surpluses caused the oil and gas sector to shed roughly a third of its workforce. Today, the pandemic combined with a lack of storage capacity for excess oil have caused the price to fall sharply again—a trend that threatens thousands of jobs.

The concentration of oil and gas extraction workers varies widely by location. At the state level, Oklahoma and Wyoming have the highest concentrations of workers in oil and gas extraction at 7.7 and 6.7 times the national average respectively. Texas, with a relative concentration of 5.8 times the national average, boasts the largest number of total oil and gas workers of any state. Many states such as Hawaii, Maine, and Rhode Island don’t produce oil or natural gas and have no employees reported by the Census Bureau.

To find the metropolitan areas hit hardest by the drop in oil prices, researchers at Construction Coverage used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The researchers ranked metro areas according to the relative concentration of employment in the oil and gas extraction industry. Researchers also looked at the total number of oil and gas extraction workers, the median earnings for those workers, and cost of living. To improve relevance and accuracy, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Here are the 25 major U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest concentrations of oil and gas workers:

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results for all major metros and U.S. states, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website:

Report republished with permission

How Technology can Improve your Logistics Operations

Like most other industries, the logistics industry faces a gradual transformation towards adapting to the internet age. The advent of new technologies invalidates age-old approaches and processes, creating the need for modernization. And with the logistics industry being as massive as it is, it’s understandable that it can be notably lucrative. Between risk mitigation and automation, there are many ways in which adaptive technology can benefit this $4 trillion industry. With that said, let us explore just how technology can improve your logistics operation.

The significance of efficiency

Before delving into specifics, it is vital to note the undisputed value of efficiency in the logistics industry.

As mentioned before, this 4$ trillion industry is massive, and its interconnectivity with other industries is apparent. Thus, efficient logistics operations can yield considerable productivity gains across the board. Not only can they provide a competitive advantage, but they can also guarantee better overall operation cohesion. Logistics software can greatly enhance one’s control and oversight of supply chains, increasing response times to potential disruptions. After all, customers of all industries value a swift delivery of goods and services, as well as quality customer support. Such software can augment all of those aspects, ensuring that potential challenges are easier to overcome.

Shipment Tracking Systems and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

A technology that has already caught on, albeit to varying degrees, is shipment tracking. As customers would previously be unaware of their order’s status, shipment tracking systems have rectified this somewhat. With 24/7 access to shipment status information, customers can rest assured that their order is indeed underway. Some tracking systems even offer additional information and shipment notifications for additional insights and convenience. This solution can indeed improve your logistics too, no less than customer experience. Constant monitoring can save your time and money, as well as unclog your customer service channels.

Likewise, on the front of cargo management, RFID technology has also seen use in recent years. In essence, RFID tags or sensors allow companies to keep track of their inventory. Both labor-saving and cost-effective, RFID tags are often used in distribution warehouses as a means of monitoring containers. Such industries as the apparel industry are also using RFID technology for tracking purposes, with very notable success. Should you be contemplating how technology can improve your logistics operation, RFID solutions could be a reasonable step to take.

Automation and robotics

On the subject of warehouse optimization, then, technology has provided another asset; automation. Naturally, automation can yield many benefits to many industries, but logistics is unquestionably one of them. From increased performance to reduced labor costs, automation is undoubtedly a valuable asset.

Automation offers to improve operational efficiency in machines, and has already seen effective use in such trade hubs as Holland’s Port of Rotterdam. Namely, its use of fully-automated terminals allows it to reap the aforementioned benefits in terms of unloading cargo. It’s estimated that this approach increases overall productivity by as much as 30 percent – a very notable net benefit.

Similarly, robots have facilitated the rapid growth of online sales across many industries. While they are quite dissimilar from automation in many regards, they too can automate operations and thus decrease labor costs. Most notably, as far as e-commerce is concerned, Amazon has been innovative in this front. Its use of Kiva robots has reduced the company’s expenses by as much as 20 percent. A notable feat, enough so that other companies also seek to employ robots in their warehouses.

Drones and autonomous vehicles

In much the same way as automation and robotics, technology has provided logistics companies with drones and autonomous vehicles. Similar in function, both can be fine examples of how technology can improve your logistics operation.

Drones have seen surges in functionality in recent times, elevated from a niche solution to one with potentially global applications. This development was understandably followed by an array of eager high-profile adopters, such as UPS. A potential innovation in terms of product delivery indeed, drones can expand delivery options to both urban and rural areas. More fortunately still, their nature allows them to also improve logistics, by removing the factor of human error.

Likewise, autonomous vehicles can offer similar convenience. In part due to relatively lower regulations and easier testing, self-driving vehicles have been an accessible technological advancement for many logistics operations. Of course, it’s notable that this technology is currently mostly limited to warehouse management, such as autonomous forklifts and trucks. However, with rapid advancements, it may not be long before autonomous trucks can traverse the world’s highways. Both in their current and potential future forms, autonomous vehicles can quite possibly be a massive asset to any company.


As technology makes rapid strides, one can realistically expect vast logistics optimization potential. From warehouse management and monitoring to shipment tracking and delivery, the possibilities seem endless. When contemplating how technology can improve your logistics operation, both the present and the future hold much promise. And as supply chains expand and grow, it will be vital to adapt to such technologies to remain competitive.


James Clarkson is a freelance web designer and author. He often writes analyses of the shipping and moving industries, and of the SEO needs of both. He’s a frequent writer for Verified Movers, as well as other companies.


China’s Sheepskin and Lambskin Market Is Estimated at $1.9B

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘China – Sheepskin and Lambskin – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the sheepskin and lambskin market in China amounted to $1.9B in 2018, standing approx. at the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

Production in China

In 2018, the sheepskin and lambskin production in China totaled 544K tonnes, flattening at the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% from 2013 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being observed in certain years. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2016 with an increase of 4.6% year-to-year. Over the period under review, sheepskin and lambskin production reached its maximum volume in 2018 and is expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Producing Animals in China

The number of animals slaughtered for sheepskin and lambskin production in China stood at 142M heads in 2018, remaining stable against the previous year. This number increased at an average annual rate of +1.8% from 2013 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being observed in certain years. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2014 when the number of producing animals increased by 4.6% against the previous year. Over the period under review, this number attained its maximum level at 144M heads in 2016; however, from 2017 to 2018, producing animals failed to regain its momentum.

Yield in China

Average yield of sheep or lamb skins (without wool) in China totaled 3,842 kg per 1000 heads in 2018, standing approx. at the previous year. The yield figure increased at an average annual rate of +1.2% over the period from 2013 to 2018. Sheepskin and lambskin yield peaked in 2018 and is expected to retain its growth in the near future.

Imports into China

In 2018, approx. 311K tonnes of sheep or lamb skins (without wool) were imported into China; jumping by 2.2% against the previous year. Over the period under review, sheepskin and lambskin imports attained their peak figure at 313K tonnes in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, imports failed to regain their momentum.

In value terms, sheepskin and lambskin imports totaled $406M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Australia (147K tonnes) constituted the largest supplier of sheepskin and lambskin to China, accounting for a 47% share of total imports. Moreover, sheepskin and lambskin imports from Australia exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, New Zealand (51K tonnes), threefold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by the UK (45K tonnes), with a 15% share.

From 2013 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume from Australia was relatively modest. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: New Zealand (+6.1% per year) and the UK (-4.5% per year).

In value terms, Australia ($238M) constituted the largest supplier of sheepskin and lambskin to China, comprising 59% of total sheepskin and lambskin imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by New Zealand ($45M), with a 11% share of total imports. It was followed by the UK, with a 8.7% share.

From 2013 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of value from Australia totaled -4.1%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: New Zealand (-17.4% per year) and the UK (-22.5% per year).

Import Prices by Country

The average sheepskin and lambskin import price stood at $1,305 per tonne in 2018, jumping by 1.9% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the sheepskin and lambskin import price, however, continues to indicate a deep shrinkage. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2017 when the average import price increased by 5% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the average import prices for sheep or lamb skins (without wool) attained their peak figure at $2,230 per tonne in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, import prices remained at a lower figure.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Australia ($1,613 per tonne), while the price for the UK ($781 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Australia, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced a decline.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform


How ‘No-Excuse’ Leadership Can Help Businesses Succeed After the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic slowdown created an uncertain future for businesses across the country.

Regardless of this rocky situation, though, the best business leaders will make sure they don’t allow the pandemic to become an excuse for failure, says Troy Nix (, a motivational speaker, businessman and author of Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others.

“I admire leaders who don’t complain about circumstances or point the finger at someone or something else,” says Nix, founder and CEO of First Resource Inc., an association management company specializing in manufacturing networks.

No, business leaders didn’t create the circumstances that led to the pandemic and its aftermath, but it is their responsibility to get their businesses and their people through the challenges they now face, he says.

“Whenever you’re leading an organization, the ultimate responsibility for any failure is yours,” Nix says. “It may be because you failed to train people properly or because you failed to hire the right person. It may be because you failed to develop a proper strategy or because you failed to develop the right culture. It’s ultimately your failure, and no excuse can ever absolve you of the responsibility of personal ownership.”

This is a mindset Nix learned in his days as a West Point cadet, where excuses were not allowed. To be successful in the coming months, he says, business leaders need to:

Set an example. Ultimately, you would like everyone in your organization to take responsibility and refuse to make excuses. “But you can’t expect that if you aren’t willing to set the example and claim responsibility for any failures yourself,” Nix says. “The best leaders take the high road and there’s no throwing anyone under the bus. Setting an example will have a constant impact on your employees, and they will know they can rely on you and depend on you.”

Do a little introspection. Nix says that, if you feel the urge to make an excuse for any failed business performance, look inward instead and ask yourself the following questions: Could I have acted differently to prevent this outcome? What could I have done to better improve the end result? How did my actions or inactions play a part in the failure? “I guarantee that if you do this and are honest with yourself, you will inevitably find a linkage for errors, disappointments, and fiascos directly back to yourself,” he says.

Take ownership. People don’t understand just how much they affect others when they make the decision to take responsibility for any and all actions. “We must own what we do, and we have to own what others under our command or influence do, even though it might be miles away from us and somebody else is executing the plan,” Nix says. “When you get up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror, are you owning what you are doing, or are you making excuses?”

“Making excuses – whether it’s in the crisis we now face or some other situation – will lead to dead ends,” Nix says. “I’ve seen time and time again that when people take control of their lives and eliminate the excuses, a life of excellence and fulfillment is the end result.”


Troy Nix (, author of Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others, is the founder, president, and CEO of First Resource, Inc., an innovative association management company for America’s manufacturers. Nix, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, served in the armed forces for a decade before moving into the business world.

mandatory declaration

CFIUS Proposes Changes to Mandatory Declaration Requirements

On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published a proposed rule that would amend the scope of mandatory filings before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), an interagency body that reviews foreign investments into the United States to assess national security risks. The proposed rule follows the Treasury Department’s publication of the regulations implementing the Foreign Investment Review Modernization Act, a statute passed in 2018, which aimed to streamline and modernize the CFIUS review process.

We previously summarized the CFIUS regulations here and here. The proposed rule amends the scope of the mandatory declaration requirement for transactions involving U.S. businesses involved in critical technologies and makes clarifying revisions to the definition of “substantial interest” in the context of acquisitions involving foreign governmental involvement.

Modification of Critical Technology Rules for Triggering Mandatory Declarations

Most notably, the proposed rule would make three key changes to criteria triggering a mandatory declaration requirement in transactions involving a “TID U.S. business” involved in “critical technologies.” (For an analysis of what constitutes a TID U.S. business, please see our earlier alert here.) The current rule requires a mandatory declaration to be filed, among other circumstances, in a covered investment or covered control transaction of a U.S. business involved in critical technologies that are used or designed for one or more industries identified by NAICS codes in Appendix B to 31 C.F.R. Part 800. The proposed rule would, first, refine the scope of the critical technologies triggering the mandatory declaration by covering only those technologies that would require “U.S. regulatory authorization” for the export, re-export, transfer (in-country), or retransfer to the foreign acquirer involved in the transaction.

Second, as described further below, while focused in the first instance on the nationality of the foreign acquirer, if the foreign acquirer is itself subject to an ownership interest of 25% or more from a person in a third country, the export licensing requirements applicable to that third country person will also be relevant.  Third, the amendments would eliminate the current requirement that the TID U.S. business be listed as one of the industries identified in Appendix B.

Regarding the first element, the proposed rule would define the term “U.S. regulatory authorization” to include authorization required by the Department of State under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”); the Department of Commerce under the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”); the Department of Energy relating to assistance to foreign atomic energy activities; or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission related to the export or import of nuclear equipment and material. In most cases, the availability of a license exception under the applicable export control regime would not be given effect; that is, if the export requires a license to the applicable parties under the relevant export control regime, the availability of a license exception for export would not similarly provide an exception to the mandatory declaration rule.

There are, however, four carve-outs—the first concerns the general authorization under Department of Energy export controls, and the other three concern three license exceptions under Part 740 of the EAR (specifically, the Strategic Trade Authorization (STA); Technology and Software – Unrestricted (TSU); and paragraph (b) of the Encryption (ENC) license exceptions). Thus, for example, transactions with foreign acquirers from countries with favorable treatment under the EAR’s Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) license exception at 15 C.F.R. § 740.20(c)(1) may be exempt from mandatory declaration requirement under the proposed rule. Second, the proposed rule could potentially expand the scope of transactions that trigger a mandatory declaration based on the export license requirements applicable to owners of the acquiring foreign entity.

In this regard, the proposed rule would also make the mandatory declaration requirement applicable to transactions where there is a foreign person who holds or is part of a group of foreign persons that together hold, a “voting interest for purposes of critical technology mandatory declarations” in a foreign acquirer. The proposed rule defines the term “voting interest for purposes of critical technology mandatory declarations” as a 25% voting interest or, in the case of entities organized as partnerships, a 25% interest in the general partner, managing member, or equivalent of the entity.  Thus for, example, if foreign acquirer X of a TID U.S. business is from country to which a critical technology can be exported without a license, but X is 25% or more owned by Y in a third country to which an export license would be required, the mandatory declaration regulation would be triggered.

Finally, although not necessarily its intent, the proposed rule may actually broaden the application of the mandatory declaration requirement by removing the current Appendix B, such that the declaration requirement would no longer be limited to only those 27 industries listed in Appendix B. As a result, any acquisition of a U.S. TID business with the requisite involvement with a critical technology may trigger the mandatory declaration requirement, without regard to the industry in which the TID business operates.

Modification of Definition of “Substantial Interest”

The proposed rule would also amend the definition of “substantial interest” for purposes of transactions involving foreign governments. The current regulations require a mandatory declaration to be filed in transactions where a foreign person obtains a “substantial interest” in a TID U.S. business, and a foreign government (other than excepted foreign governments, currently only the U.K., Australia, and Canada) has a “substantial interest” in the foreign acquirer. The current definition of “substantial interest” applies, with respect to a foreign government’s interest in a foreign acquirer organized as a partnership or similar entity, when the foreign government holds at least 49% of the general partner, managing member, or equivalent of the entity.

The proposed rule would narrow that provision by applying it only when the general partner or equivalent entity primarily directs, controls, or coordinates the activities of the foreign acquirer. The current rule also contains a provision that any “voting interest” held by a parent entity in a subsidiary entity will be deemed to be 100%. Because there was some confusion as to whether this provision applied to non-voting partnership interests, the proposed rule would remove the term “voting” to clarify that this provision applies to such entities organized as both corporations (and equivalent entities) and partnerships (and equivalent entities).

Comments Due by June 22, 2020

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted through June 22, 2020.  Parties with interests which may be impacted by the rule should strongly consider submitting comments prior to this deadline to ensure that all relevant industry insight is considered by CFIUS prior to the final rule becoming effective.



Post-COVID Logistics: Retooling for the Future

The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across global economies and businesses, but for the supply chain and logistics industry, challenges go beyond the present and threaten the future of operations and business continuity. These challenges redefine what prediction could look like for the logistics industry and what considerations should be taken to keep the supply chain moving.

Global Trade had the opportunity to speak with business owner and author of “The GOP’s Lost Decade: An Inside View of Why Washington Doesn’t Work,” Jim Renacci on what changes the industry can anticipate as the current health crisis continues to change the pace for global business.

What planning measures will logistics players need to consider in a post-COVID environment?

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way manufacturers/logistic players will need to review their supply chain management post-COVID-19 and access their supply chain vulnerabilities. The crisis has demonstrated that reliance on sourcing from two geographic areas could pose a risk.

During the crisis, while supplies became unavailable, many companies were forced to start looking for new supply chains as many of their overseas suppliers had to limit or reduce shipments significantly. Post-COVID planning will include asking current suppliers to take on more and different product lines. It is already happening with many current business relationships. Also, the reliability of the supply chain…. over cost…. will be more of a priority.

In what ways have supply chain players supported their customers and consumers during the crisis?

Manufacturers/supply chain players are supporting their customers by shifting and increasing supply chain needs where possible. In many instances, secondary suppliers have started adding product lines where possible. With any crisis, opportunities will be there for the business that can move quickly and adapt to change.

How will the manufacturing site selection process shift in a post-COVID world? 

Manufacturing site selection processes in a post-COVID world should include seeking locations within the US and other countries that have access to highly trained engineers, top tier R&D, access to advanced manufacturing technologies as well as private and public institutions and universities. Site selection should also include countries that offer a competitive investment package as more and more countries post-COVID will be looking to entice companies to locate or relocate inside their jurisdictions.

In what ways can logistics players use the disruption from COVID-19 to benefit their operations in the future?

Current disruption due to COVID-19 will allow companies to reassess their vulnerabilities but also their strengths. With these disruptions, companies can retool for the future. They can adjust for their weaknesses and benefit from their strengths.


Jim Renacci is the author of The GOP’s Lost Decade: An Inside View of Why Washington Doesn’t Work. He is also an experienced business owner who created more than 1,500 jobs and employed over 3,000 people across the Buckeye State before running for Congress in 2010. Jim represented Ohio’s 16th District in the House of Representatives for four terms. He is also the chairman of Ohio’s Future Foundation, a policy and action-oriented organization whose goal is to move the state forward.



The coronavirus pandemic has caused both governments and businesses to question some of the assumptions that have underpinned global trade for decades. By the time the dust settles, the world’s approach to trade could look quite different.

Extended global supply chains brought unprecedented economic efficiencies generated by extreme specialization of production and the ability to reduce costs through just-in-time inventories. These benefits are now being weighed against the risks created by the lack of redundancy and the consequences of severe disruption when key suppliers are not available. Rising economic nationalism and strategic rivalries are prompting multinational companies to rethink their investment and production strategies.

Weighing security over efficiency

In the balance between economic efficiency and security of supply, the pendulum may be swinging back toward security. This shift will apply not only to essential medical supplies and medicines but across the full spectrum of trade. Many automotive production facilities in South Korea, Japan and elsewhere were forced to suspend operations at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak when the flow of critical components from China was interrupted.

Companies may not only rethink supplier relationships. They might also consider further diversifying their own production. Take for example the recently announced decision by Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC to build a $12 billion production facility in the state of Arizona, which may represent an attempt to mitigate business risks emerging as a result of geostrategic rivalries, in particular between the United States and China. The compelling economic rationale for TSMC’s Arizona facility is not readily apparent. The costs of semiconductor fabrication are relatively higher when compared to TSMC’s facilities in Taiwan, where the bulk of its manufacturing is done.

Reducing over-dependence on Asia supply chains

The TSMC facility might represent an industry step toward a more U.S.-based high technology supply chain. But there might actually be less to the proposed plant than meets the eye. By the time it is operational in 2024, it is expected to produce semiconductors based on existing (rather than next generation) technologies, and it will lack capacity to produce at a game-changing scale. The 20,000 silicon wafers the Arizona plant is expected to produce each month is only one-fifth the capacity of the larger Taiwan-based fabrication facilities.

However, as the Trump Administration has been vocal in its desire to repatriate elements of vulnerable supply chains wherever possible, the move could also represent an opportunity to hedge against the risk that more production of critical industrial products will be compelled to be manufactured and procured in the United States, something other governments are contemplating as well.

At the recent G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Riyadh, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire — a staunch advocate of deepening economic integration — posed a question which just a few years ago would have seemed inconceivable:
“Do we want to still depend at the level of 90 per cent or 95 per cent on the supply chain of China for the automobile industry, for the drug industry, for the aeronautical industry or do we draw the consequences of that situation to build new factories, new productions, and to be more independent and sovereign? That’s not protectionism — that’s just the necessity of being sovereign and independent from an industrial point of view.”

Le Maire’s comment captures the policy debate officials around the world are wrestling with, even in countries that have traditionally been strong pro-trade and pro-integration advocates.

Doubling down on regional trade agreements

Broader strategic considerations were undoubtedly at play in the decision. Taiwan’s position as a global supplier of chips – as well as a highly sensitive flashpoint in U.S.-China relations – means that TSMC is inevitably caught up in the technology and strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China.

TSMC’s investment may not be a bellwether that U.S. companies will re-shore or that multinationals will flock to the United States. More likely, companies will build more diversity into their supply chains with more emphasis on regional trade and less reliance on a single trade partner.

This could have big implications for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Although neither China nor the United States are currently parties to the CPTPP, the agreement is a useful vehicle to achieve greater trade and investment diversification for its current members. As a self-selected, voluntary grouping of economies ostensibly committed to promoting trade and investment among members, the CPTPP could provide some degree of insulation against the surge of export restrictions.

With the CPTPP positioned to take on greater relevance in the post-COVID-19 world, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines have indicated interest in joining. Japan seems to be the informal new member recruitment manager, with Japanese officials already working closely with their Thai counterparts on the mechanics of accession.

Japan’s role is not a matter of happenstance. Japanese officials understand the dangers of over-reliance on a single market. Japan relies on China for about 37 per cent of its imports of automotive parts and 21 per cent of its imports of intermediary goods overall. In light of the COVID-19 disruptions, Japan is making a concerted effort to reduce its supply chain dependencies on China. The recent stimulus bill passed by the Japanese legislature allocated US$2.2 billion to help Japanese manufacturers shift production out of China.

A lasting impact

The COVID-19 pandemic will recede at some point. But its impact on trade will endure. The world can expect to see less China-reliant supply chains and increased use of regional trade agreements, providing a particular boost to the economies of Asia that multinationals see as the alternative to China.


Stephen Olson is a Research Fellow at the Hinrich Foundation. Over the course of his 25 year international career, Stephen has lived and worked in Asia, the Middle East, and the United States, holding senior executive positions in the private sector, international organizations, government, and academia. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.
leadership style

How to Change Your Leadership Style and Adapt to the Changing World

A scholar in Nova Southeastern University by the name of Chien presented executives with a correlation between leadership effectiveness of different leadership styles adopted by executives in international companies. Although this empirical study was primarily designed to investigate global leaders and in this case Taiwan, there are kernels for all executives to learn from. For example, there was a strong positive correlation between the effectiveness of leaders and adopting a transformational leadership style at the highest organizational levels.

Executives began to listen and respond to the plethora of information in the form of articles and books attempting to provide transformational leadership as an adaptable and applicable leadership style to help impact not only the productivity and profitability of the organization but also the competitive advantage. One example is the concept of intellectual stimulation which is another important aspect of transformational leadership. Intellectual stimulation positively impacts the effectiveness of leadership in building learning through facilitating knowledge sharing by all leaders and followers of the organization. Executives require people who are engaged and inspired to meet the demands of day-to-day operations.

Transformational leadership also suggests that executives inspire their followers. Ergo, transformational leadership is a suitable leadership style to analyze leadership in international companies. By adopting a transformational leadership style, executives are able to answer the questions necessary to apply leadership without having to delve through all the leadership styles to find what works well for them and what does not. To prove the correlations between transformational leadership and the effectiveness of leadership in global environments today, I take a further look at new industry researches so that executives can see the correlation and application.

An Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management Skills found relevant information that may help leaders embrace transformational leadership. The task force first critiqued top managers and found them to be inadequate effective leaders. The report illustrates the weaknesses of leaders, such as failing to develop a clear vision for the future of their organization. Similarly, a more recent report on Management Matters illustrated that top managers in the manufacturing sector scored the least in the very important organizational behavior tenet of people management when compared to two other areas of operations- and performance management. This particular report highlighted that companies need to enhance leverage on human assets in order to achieve sustained competitiveness.

In both cases, companies have been ranked low in almost all dimensions of people management. After careful review of these findings for both case studies, the scholars recommend that companies must improve their human resource-related practices with a target of attracting, retaining, and promoting their human resources. This article goes further and suggests that the way for these managers and leaders, and leaders across the globe, to make the effective changes that are posited in the transformational leadership. The recommendations of transformational leadership are to focus on developing a strategic vision for their future strategic initiatives. When transformational leaders can generate a shared and inspiring vision for the future expansion into the global business environment, they will secure a foothold in the ever-expansive global marketplace. Thus, executives that act as transformational leaders are capable to overcome their deficiencies and lead better in our hypercompetitive environment of today.

These industry researches also identify the transformational leadership style as a primary driver of organizational competitiveness. Unfortunately, while the characteristics of transformational leaders are positively associated with the competitiveness of international companies, it is somewhat underutilized in organizations worldwide. This is suspect and alarming because numerous empirical studies have found that there is a direct correlation between transformational leadership and organizational competitiveness. Scholars highlighted transformational leadership as an enabler of organizational competitiveness. Therefore, leaders that may not be utilizing the transformational leadership style which has been posited as a managerial-based competency for organizations operating in today’s innovative business environment can now explore the virtues of using this leadership style to improve competitive advantage.

In conclusion, executives in international companies can now take a new view of managerial decision-making and leading – transformational leadership. Transformational leadership lies at the focal point of executive success. Therefore, I suggest that these executives embrace transformational leadership. This leadership style influences some of the spans of control of executive responsibility. For the scholar’s corner, I place a great deal of emphasis on the literature on transformational leadership as a significant indicator for business success. Scholars see that I expand upon the subject matter of transformational leadership. Through articulating the impacts of transformational leadership on the competitiveness of international companies, I add to the current and extant literature. Organizational competitiveness is essential for business growth and prosperity in today’s global business environments.



[1] Chien, HJ 2001, A comparison of leadership characteristics in public and large and small private organizations in Taiwan, Nova Southeastern University.

[2] Report of the Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management Skills 1995, Renewing Australian’s managers to meet the challenges of the Asia-pacific century.

[3] Management Matters in Australia: Just how productive are we? 2012, Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Australia.

detection kits

COVID-19 Detection Kits Market Size Sees 17.3% Growth to Hit USD 8 Billion By 2026

The global COVID-19 detection kits market should increase from USD 3.3 billion till now in 2020 to USD 8 billion in 2026 at a compound annual growth rate of 17.3% for 2020-2026.

COVID-19 detection kits market is anticipated to garner noteworthy growth on account of growing cases of coronavirus registered worldwide. For the record, COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that is highly contagious and transmits through direct contact with an infected person or indirect contact with affected surfaces located near the immediate environment.

As of now, this virus has spread all over the world. Containing its spread has proven to be challenging for most developed as well as developing countries. In a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, numerous countries are using COVID-19 detection kits that help identify the symptoms of the disease in early-stage patients.

Countries with a huge number of COVID-19 cases are currently going through grave public health problems. As a result, regulatory bodies like the U.S. FDA have decided to ease the regulatory process for COVID-19 detection kits, following the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) guideline. This has enabled manufacturers to launch their test kits in the market more quickly.

Technological innovation and subsequent development in the field of coronavirus diagnostic kits will enhance the COVID-19 detection kits industry outlook. According to a study conducted by Global Market Insights, Inc., the COVID-19 detection kits market is estimated to reach USD 8 billion by the year 2026.

This growth can be contributed to the below-mentioned trends:

Immense popularity of RT-PCR assay kits-

Rising incidence of COVID-19 around the world could play a crucial role in driving the demand for RT-PCR assay kits. The segment is expected to be more profitable and might achieve 96% of the overall market share within 2020.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 0.6 million positive COVID-19 cases have been reported up to this date in the U.S. Rising cases in the region may support the demand for RT-PCR assay kits. Other alternatives for RT-PCR assay kits include immunoassay test strips/cassettes.

Escalating demand across APAC-

The outbreak of COVID-19 in densely populated areas like India and China could augment the Asia Pacific COVID-19 detection kits industry over the years. Estimates claim that the regional market is likely to observe nearly 21% CAGR by 2026.

Facilities in APAC have recorded some recurrence cases of COVID-19 after the successful containment of the virus. This could develop the need for COVID-19 detection kits in the future.

Implementation of lucrative business strategies-

Companies operating in the market are implementing multiple growth strategies to expand their product portfolio and geographical presence by taking part in novel R&D initiatives.

Taking March 2020 for instance, Hologic revealed that it will be receiving grant funding from the U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to scale the production of COVID-19 detection kits. This collaboration would allow the firm to cater to the proliferating demand for detection kits.

Apart from Hologic, Co-Diagnostics, Cepheid, Abbott Laboratories, BGI, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, BioFire Diagnostics, Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech, GenMark Diagnostics, Qiagen, Quidel Corporation, and Mylab Discovery Solutions are some other leading firms in the COVID-19 detection kits market.

Source: Global Market Insights, Inc.

preserved vegetable

Global Temporarily Preserved Vegetable Trade – Italy, Japan, and France are the World’s Largest Importers

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Temporarily Preserved Vegetable – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

Imports 2007-2018

In 2018, the amount of canned vegetables imported worldwide totaled 593K tonnes, standing approx. at the previous year. Overall, temporarily preserved vegetable imports, however, continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2017 when imports increased by 13% against the previous year. In that year, global temporarily preserved vegetable imports attained their peak of 595K tonnes, leveling off in the following year.

In value terms, temporarily preserved vegetable imports stood at $649M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

The countries with the highest levels of temporarily preserved vegetable imports in 2018 were Japan (71K tonnes), South Korea (66K tonnes), Italy (55K tonnes), Spain (44K tonnes), France (41K tonnes), Brazil (31K tonnes), Russia (31K tonnes), the U.S. (26K tonnes), Belgium (21K tonnes), Germany (20K tonnes), the UK (19K tonnes) and Chile (15K tonnes), together reaching 74% of total import.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Brazil, while imports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest temporarily preserved vegetable importing markets worldwide were Italy ($98M), Japan ($77M) and France ($50M), together accounting for 35% of global imports. Spain, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, South Korea, the U.S., the UK, Russia and Chile lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 39%.

Among the main importing countries, Brazil experienced the highest growth rate of the value of imports, over the period under review, while imports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average temporarily preserved vegetable import price amounted to $1,094 per tonne, jumping by 3.6% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the temporarily preserved vegetable import price, however, continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2008 when the average import price increased by 6.5% y-o-y. The global import price peaked at $1,303 per tonne in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, import prices failed to regain their momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Italy ($1,769 per tonne), while South Korea ($427 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by South Korea, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform