A war for influence that seems lost in advance. Despite the desire displayed by the United States and the European Union (EU) to be less dependent on Chinese industry for their own supplies, China is expected to see its share of global manufacturing jobs increase by 2050, according to a study by the Center for Global Development (CGD) in Washington.
In less than 30 years, China will account for 43% of global industrial employment and will be one of the only countries to see its industrial employment increase, while the global trend will be rather downward. After the Covid-19 pandemic and the first global lockdown, major Western economies felt that their dependence on Chinese industry represented a risk for their supply chains.
The rapid recovery of the post-containment economy, and the bottlenecks observed in supply, causing delays and price increases fueling the wave of inflation which is still affecting the global economy, have prompted the EU and the United States to implement a strategy of “reducing industrial risks” vis-à-vis China. This strategy aims in particular to bring back to the countries concerned, or countries considered closer politically, part of the production considered strategic until now carried out in China.
The United States also wants to limit Chinese capabilities in the production of cutting-edge technologies, such as the microprocessors necessary for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in order to stay ahead in this area.
But this approach should not find translation in terms of jobs, according to the study, which points to a continued decline in the share of industrial employment in the active population for advanced economies, which should go from 11, 4% today to 8.3% by 2050.
On the other side of the economic spectrum, poorer countries are not expected to see a significant increase in the share of industrial employment, which is expected to remain stable over the next 30 years, at less than 8% of the active population. in three decades.
In fact, these countries should move from a mainly agricultural economy to a service economy without really experiencing a transition through the development of their industry, as has been observed in Western countries or in China and Japan in particular.
“This does not mean that these countries will not succeed in emerging from poverty,” warned Ranil Dissanayake, one of the authors of the study, “but knowing how to take advantage of it will require making the right political choices and concerted efforts ". The study was carried out on the projections of 59 countries representing more than 75% of global GDP.