US $2 trillion infra aid; US-China trade; France lockdown

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Today on The Leaders' Brief -

  • With its unemployment rate still hovering around the 6% mark and COVID positive cases continuing to climb by tens of thousands, US President Joe Biden hopes a $2 trillion stimulus for infrastructure development will boost the country’s economy. USA remains the worst affected country in the world and global and local lockdowns had seen its economy shrink by 3.5% last year. At the same time, its greatest trade and political rival China grew by a little over 2% and has been able the COVID pandemic to less than 50 weekly cases. Most economists predict an Asia-centric post-pandemic recovery for the world, and China appears to be in a position to make the most out of it.

  • Airplane manufacturer Boeing expressed concern last week about losing out to competitors due to Washington and Beijing’s trade spat. Addressing the US Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit last Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said he is hopeful that intellectual property, human rights, and other things can be separated from trade to encourage a free trade environment between the USA and China and ensure the American company does not lose out on the Chinese market. The company sells approximately 25% of its jetliners to China and has been under immense pressure from US authorities for the large share it holds in the Chinese domestic airline market share since the Trump era.

  • French President Emmanuel Macron announced the country’s third lockdown last week as France continued to see a sharp surge in daily COVID infections. France has registered over 4.6 million COVID positive cases and registered nearly 100,000 deaths. President Macron had initially decided to avoid lockdowns in the country, after suffering heavy economic losses due to its two previous lockdowns. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, the two coronavirus lockdowns in 2020 caused the French economy to suffer its worst economic marker since World War II with its GDP falling 8.3%.

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