Germany looks to partner with Japan to Secure Raw Materials
The German government wants to increase cooperation with Japan to help secure supplies of raw materials. The goal is to make supply chains more resilient and avoid over-reliance on single countries. Raw-material security and linking the two nations’ strategically will be on the agenda at upcoming talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
This follows energy prices skyrocketing across Europe as Russia completely cut off its supply of gas to Europe, by shutting down the Nord Stream pipeline. This was in retaliation for the EU sanctions imposed on Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine. Germany became increasingly reliant on Russian gas to meet its energy needs. Over the past year, Russia has cut its gas supplies to EU states by 88%.
“At the latest with the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, we have learned that we must do everything possible not to be dependent on supply chains that we cannot sufficiently influence,” Scholz said. Scholz’s focus on Japan is not a coincidence, he has repeatedly stated that democratic nations must work more closely together to counter the influence of economic rivals with different political systems.
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Shein queried on forced labor in its supply chain
U.S. senators questioned fast-fashion giant Shein on whether some of the company’s products contained cotton from China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Human rights groups believe China has detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will over the past few years in a large network of what the state calls “re-education camps”, and sentenced hundreds of thousands to prison terms.
For Shein this would be a problem as they are accused of sourcing cotton from this area which has allowed U.S. customers to unknowingly purchase this product. The bigger issue here is that this is against U.S. law as early last year, the administration of former US President Donald Trump announced a ban on cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang. The wider-reaching UFLPA was approved by the Senate last July, and Congress in December. It was subsequently signed into law by current US President Joe Biden.
The senators went on to ask Shein outright if it or its suppliers sourced cotton from the Xinjiang region. In addition to other questions about its practices, such as how the company documents its supply chain from the resourcing to shipments. Shein’s response to this accusation is that- “We are committed to respecting human rights and adhering to local laws and regulations in each market we operate in. … We have zero-tolerance for forced labor.”
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Tesla recalls over 360,000 vehicles due to faulty Self-Driving Beta software
Tesla are recalling over 360,000 vehicles equipped with the company’s experimental driver-assistance software, which is marketed as Full Self-Driving Beta or FSD Beta. Tesla will deliver an over-the-air software update to cars to address the issues, the recall notice said. The group of affected vehicles included the following years and models: 2016-2023 Model S and Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles equipped with or pending installation of FSD Beta.
The FSD Beta system may cause crashes by allowing the affected vehicles to: “Act unsafe around intersections, such as traveling straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane, entering a stop sign-controlled intersection without coming to a complete stop, or proceeding into an intersection during a steady yellow traffic signal without due caution,” according to a safety recall report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A failure in Tesla’s supply chain caused this blunder and a look to improve and have transparency within its supply chain can be a solution for the future for Tesla. This is still a developing story however, shares of Tesla fell more than 1% following the news, then quickly recovered.
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