28 May 2020

Key points

  • The US President has been quoted as saying ‘we should make everything in the United States’, in reference to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Australia is one of the many countries that makes components for the F-35 international program.  

Defence

  • USA – The Department of Defense has proposed legislation that aims to end the US’s over-reliance on other markets for rare earth minerals used to manufacture missiles and munitions, hypersonic weapons and radiation hardened electronics. Under the proposal, the US will make targeted investments in rare earth minerals, potentially opening greater opportunities for Australia to meet US demand for these resources.
  • USA – US President Donald Trump has offered the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter as an example of vulnerabilities in the US’s management of international trade. The President indicated that because the F-35 components are made worldwide, production of the jet could be severely impacted if the US had diplomatic issues with any country making those components. The President was quoted as saying ‘we should make everything in the United States’. 
  • USA – Major partners have yet to react, however. Defence procurement commentators believe the prospects of removing production from all F-35 participating countries is unlikely, given huge investment by partner countries since the early 2000s. Australia is a Level 2 contributor to the F-35 program, alongside NATO members, Norway, Denmark and Turkey. According to Australia’s Defence Minister, Linda Reynolds, the Australian Government is continuing to advocate for more opportunities for Australian companies to participate in the program.

E-commerce

  • Canada – The offices of Canadian e-commerce company, Shopify, will remain closed until 2021. The company will be re-designing for the ‘new normal’ of remote working. Following the pandemic, the majority of employees will work from home permanently. This follows similar moves by US tech giants such as Facebook and Yahoo.

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