French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wants more investment in localized supply chains

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the BBC that exiting the single market after Brexit had worsened the supply chain crisis for the UK.

“We are facing the same situation,” he told G7 meetings in Washington.

“But the fact that we are members of a very important single market helps us to tackle these bottlenecks.”

UK retailers this week warned of potential shortages heading into Christmas due to congestion in UK ports and a lack of truck drivers.

“I think it helps us because we can have access to other labor markets, when you ask for more people in restaurants, in hotels, for truck drivers, for example, you have access to others labor markets, “said Le Maire. .

His comments came as several UK retailers said they risk shortages during the Christmas shopping season due to supply issues.

Speaking at the same event earlier this week, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the BBC that buyers can be reassured ministers are doing “absolutely everything we can” to resolve supply chain issues.

Mr Sunak highlighted the global factors behind the delays seen at ports such as Felixstowe, but said “I am confident that there will be a fair amount of Christmas presents available for everyone to buy.”

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Mr Le Maire also said that Europe, not the UK, will be one of the three key economic powers in the world.

“I do not want to criticize the British approach because it is the sovereign choice of the British people,” said Mr Le Maire.

“But you know, when you look closely at the current world situation, you have the right side, the United States, the other side, the rise of China, and then there is only one place left – and that won’t be for the UK. It will be for Europe. Let’s be clear about that. “

Le Maire said G7 finance ministers also discussed a new plan to permanently reduce dependence on East Asia and China, including by sharing their supply chains and their factories.

“We share the same values ​​within the G7, within European countries, we share the same approach on economic issues on trade, so building these new value chains, between partners and between friends could be one of the solutions”, did he declare.

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Mr. Le Maire also underlined his point of view that countries must work together on major projects.

“You need to pull together – you need huge financial investments that no country can do alone,” said Le Maire, giving an example of the cost of investing in new technologies like hydrogen, artificial intelligence or the cloud.

“When you talk about being more independent on semiconductor production, you have to put 50 billion euros (£ 42.4 billion) on the table just to build new chip production plants, which means that between China and the United States once again there is only one place left and I think it will be for Europe. “

G7 finance ministers agreed on Wednesday to work closely together to tackle the crisis by ensuring supply chains are more resilient.

The G7 (Group of Seven) is an organization of the seven largest so-called advanced economies in the world. These are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Ministers and officials from member countries hold meetings, make agreements and issue joint statements on world events.

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