Western firms face backlash in China, Suez Canal losses; India vaccine rollout

In today's episode, we look into the increasing backlash against western companies in China over EU and USA’s decision to sanction the country over its alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region, examine losses being incurred due to a surge container ship blocking the Suez canal, and revisit the worsening COVID situation in India.
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • China sanctioned organizations and individuals in the United Kingdom last Friday in retaliation to Western sanctions imposed on Beijing for alleged human rights abuses on Uighur Muslims in the country’s cotton-producing Xinjiang region. The development comes at a time the United Kingdom called on Beijing to allow international access to Xinjiang to verify the truth about human rights abuses in the province, and western companies are facing large-scale repurcussions in China. Several companies who have expressed concern over cotton being sourced from the Xinjiang region, including Nike and H&M, risk facing large scale backlash in the country. British media reported last week that London based luxury fashion house Burberry had become the first victim.

  • A huge container ship blocking the Suez Canal is costing global trade millions of dollars every hour. The Ever Given, a 400 metre-long container ship, blocked the important passage while travelling towards the Mediterranean from the North Sea on March 23rd. The Suez Canal Authority said that the principal cause that placed the ship aground was a lack of visibility due to high winds and a sand storm. The Suez Canal Authority has suspended all navigation through the channel that sees almost 30 per cent of the global container traffic pass through it every year. It is being estimated that at least another week would be required to free the container ship, threatening a global price rise in essential commodities and oil. 

  • India, which appears to be hit by a fresh COVID wave, is expected to soon expand its vaccination programme for the country’s younger population. The Indian health ministry said that all above the age of 45 are eligible for vaccination from April 1, and now the government is working to meet a demand by many states for the inclusion of all adults. The country’s new targets will decrease the country’s AstraZeneca exports, putting more pressure on several countries, particularly those in Europe.

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