Chain Reaction: Senate ‘uncorks’ tariffs bill

Editor’s Note: The following is a weekly column covering technology and regulation within the supply chain and logistics industries.

Global supply chains may pose a national security risk

In the wake of the latest Facebook scandal, in which Americans learned that Facebook shared their personal, private data with device-makers — some of which are Chinese companies — the U.S. government is now concerned that tech companies’ global supply chains could potentially pose serious national security risks.

The Reaction: The U.S. government raises valid concerns. Other U.S. tech companies, including Apple and Google, also share sensitive information with foreign companies within their supply chains, and for Chinese suppliers, that’s a particularly difficult issue, especially since the Chinese government recently launched a nationwide initiative to monitor individuals’ movements and personal data through their personal electronic devices.

As Chinese suppliers working for U.S. companies comply with Chinese policies, it may conflict with U.S. interests. There will be no easy solution; U.S. companies have complex supply chains and may find it difficult or untenable to give up supplier relationships with Chinese companies.

Regardless, tech companies should expect tighter regulation from the U.S. down the road.

Wall Street doesn’t care about tariffs, but feds do

According to a Goldman Sachs research note, there’s no good reason to be concerned about President Donald Trump’s tariffs. Bloomberg reported many economists and investors — including big banks like Goldman Sachs — believe the effect of the tariffs on the U.S. economy as a whole will be minimal.

The Reaction: The tariffs are inconvenient, and there are plenty of U.S. companies not happy about them. But its impact on the economy may not be as severe as people think. What’s more dangerous is the uncertainty and Trump’s apparent inability to negotiate trade grievances diplomatically.

Congress is more concerned with the latter, which is why Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill to the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee that would amend the Trade Expansion Act of 1952. The amended law would require the president receive congressional approval for tariffs imposed on imports believed to be a threat to national security.

The bill has less to do with mitigating damage to the U.S. economy and more to do with reigning in Trump’s knack for alienating allies as he attempts to revive U.S. jobs in a variety of industries. The text of the bill has not yet been released, but it will have trouble becoming law unless Congress can override a likely veto by the President.

It’s more a political statement than a stab at changing U.S. policy, but it does spark questions regarding how to handle the “trade war.”​

In case you missed it…

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) introduced a bill to the Senate yesterday authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to “detect, identify, monitor, and track the unmanned aircraft system or unmanned aircraft, without prior consent” to detect potential “emerging threats.” For those exploring the use of drones to deliver packages to consumers’ doors, this adds another layer of complexity to the privacy debate.

In other news, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Roadcheck (and the first since implementation of the ELD mandate) began Tuesday, Supply Chain Dive’s Shefali Kapadia reports. Stripe (who partnered with Microsoft to streamline payments in Outlook) will come up with a plan to answer government requests for private data, according to Axios.

Devery launched a B2B blockchain app, shipping line CMA CGM will use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve tracking and Mastercard will use AI to optimize freight payments.

Looking ahead

The G7 Summit being held this week may feel like a bad family reunion, now Trump has imposed tariffs on most the countries in attendance. Still, the leaders will attempt to address five key topics to advance the global economy.

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) will expand to Asia later this year with a new Singapore office, FreightWaves reported.

Chrysler plans to sell partially autonomous vehicles by 2023, but Japan plans to launch a fully autonomous driving system in Tokyo by 2020. Tesla said its cash flow will be positive by the third or fourth quarter of this year.

08 June 2018 | Kate Patrick | Supply Chain Dive