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Excise duties and short supply chain

Renzo Servadei

No one plans to return to a close autarchic system, but neither is the opposite desirable, which in strict lexical terms means dependence and subjection
At the time of writing these few lines, we do not yet know whether the European Commission will have appealed the ruling aimed at abolishing the excise duties imposed on truck tires produced in China.We are not going to delve into the ins and outs of the ruling, moreover, these are complex legal arguments that it is not possible to tackle here, but the occasion is favourable to build a general argument whereby, all things being equal, if we are up against a highly efficient production system, hats off to them, clearly one cannot blame others for their own inefficiency.

If, on the other hand, we have to compete with goods sold through dumping practices or supported by subsidies to alter the rules of the market, it is necessary to implement effective defensive actions, or else the desertification of the sector affected by these forms of unfair competition will be unavoidable. Broadening the topic even further, as Europeans, we have deceived ourselves into thinking that, thanks to globalization, which for many years appeared as a cure-all remedy, we could live only on services and finance, leaving the production of commodities to others. Now we have finally realized that all it takes is for one ship to get stuck in the Suez Canal, for some port to be blocked by a pandemic, or for geopolitical upheavals to halt production in countries thousands of kilometres away, and as a consequence several industrial sectors come to a standstill here. Entire automotive production lines have been stopped because of a shortage of microchips, wirings or some other parts often worth a few euro. In the midst of so many problems, Italy is still the second largest manufacturing nation in Europe after Germany.

Let us give careful consideration to such an important sector. Someone rightly said that to redistribute wealth it is necessary to create it in the first place. In the same way, the ability to distribute goods, depends on their availability as the result of a carefully planned production and distribution system and not depending on the benevolence of some ruler or the stability of this or that nation. This does not mean a return to economic autarky at all, but it would be just as wrong to continue to be beguiled by globalization. The opposite of autarky, in fact, which according to any dictionary of synonyms and antonyms, means dependence, subjection. Again, as the ancients used to say, "in medio stat virtus," (virtue lies in the middle).  

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