How might Donald Trump affect US-UK trade?
A significant degree of America’s relationship with the UK is built on trade. Despite President Obama stating before the EU referendum that the UK would no longer be a priority if it voted leave, President-elect Donald Trump now claims that the UK’s decision will have no negative impact on trade, and he is keen to strike a new deal. This could mean a boost for Britain’s manufacturing industry.
Nigel Driffield, a Professor of International Business at Warwick Business School, offered the following expert comment:
"Trade deals are not done quickly, especially if a country has not had the economists and negotiators needed for 25 years.
"The UK could simply have free trade with every country including the US, as has been argued, but in this situation, comparative advantage dominates, and production gravitates to the location with the lowest cost of production. This is often politically unacceptable, as governments seek to protect jobs and tax revenues, as well as to protect certain production activities that fund innovation.
“Then we are left doing a trade deal to protect each country’s priorities. Negotiators are essentially like barristers. They put forward arguments based on the analysis that they are given.
“That is the difficult bit, figuring out which industries will gain or lose from a given deal, and what the overall effect is, given the impacts on related sectors. For instance, if the UK did a tariff free deal in the auto industry with the US, the net effect in car production is quite straightforward to work out, but what about parts, plastic mouldings, glass, etc. Who will gain - us or them? Then this has to be all put together, fed into the negotiators with a range of options – because the US will be doing this too. To complicate things further, firms from both countries will be figuring on some direct investment to support their exports, so will this move jobs away from the UK or bring them in?
“In the 1960s the UK had economists, who were sector specialists, working this out, but neither the public or private sector have needed this for 25 years. Just for a trade deal with the US, conservative estimates on the manpower needed to work all the sectors out, mean the government would need to hire every professor of international economics or international business in the UK, along with all the researchers, and all the PhD students, for at least three years to figure this out.”
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Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.