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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

EU Vs. China: Is There Still a Global Marketplace?

The looming cold war economic order has businesses bracing for the worst.

When globalization was only moving in one direction.

When globalization was only moving in one direction.

Photographer: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP

Globalization felt like it was going into reverse long before Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine. Donald Trump’s election, Brexit and Covid-19 were all flagged as milestones on the path back toward more protectionism and higher costs for multinationals.

Yet the speed and severity of the slide into war and its fallout have clearly shocked Europe’s political and corporate establishment. Strategic plans and long-term investments are being torn up, leaving behind factories and staff. Carmaker Renault SA has halted Russian operations, as has brewer Carlsberg AS. At around 10% of revenue in both cases, this is a lesson that will not be quickly forgotten.