Pubblicato in: Putin, Russia

Russia. Putin. Ordine Esecutivo sulle contromisure verso azioni ostili di stati stranieri.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-30.

Putin Vladimir 012

«Executive Order on measures (countermeasures) in response to unfriendly actions of foreign states»

«To protect the interests and security of the Russian Federation and in accordance with the federal laws of December 30, 2006, No 281-FZ On Special Economic and Coercive Measures and of June 4, 2018, No 127-FZ On Measures (Countermeasures) in Response to Unfriendly Actions of the United States and Other Foreign States, I hereby resolve ….»

«To restrict (including the imposition of a complete ban if necessary) the signing by diplomatic missions and consular agencies, representatives of government bodies and government agencies of foreign states that take unfriendly actions towards the Russian Federation, citizens of the Russian Federation or Russian legal entities, of labour contracts, employment agreements with workers (personnel) and of other civil-law contracts leading to labour relations with individuals on the territory of the Russian Federation»

«To establish that the number of individuals on the territory of the Russian Federation with whom contracts may be signed shall be determined by the Government of the Russian Federation»

«compile a list of unfriendly foreign states»

«determine the number of individuals that are on the territory of the Russian Federation»

«ensure control over compliance with the labour rights of the citizens of the Russian Federation»

* * * * * * *


Putin signs decree on countermeasures to other states’ unfriendly actions.

The government is tasked to define number of individuals that can be employed by foreign missions.

MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on countermeasures to unfriendly action of foreign states, as follows from a document posted on the Kremlin website on Friday.

Under the document, diplomatic missions, consular institutions and offices of government institutions of foreign countries acting in an unfriendly manner against Russia, Russian nationals or legal entities will face restrictions, or even a complete ban, if necessary, in terms of employing Russian nationals.

The government is tasked to define number of individuals that can be employed by foreign missions. “Labor contracts with individuals in excess of the number set by the government that were signed before the commencement day of this decree are to be terminated,” the document says. However, restrictions “are not applicable to nationals of unfriendly states arriving from such states as employees of diplomatic missions, consular institutions and offices of government institutions of corresponding unfriendly foreign states.”

Apart from that, the government is tasked to draw up a list of unfriendly foreign states subject to these measures and to ensure control over the observance of labor rights of Russian nationals in case of their contracts termination under the decree.

According to the document, it is geared to “protect Russia’s interests and security under federal laws No 281-FZ On Special Economic Measures and Enforcement Measures of December 30, 2006 and No127-FZ On Countermeasures to Unfriendly Actions of the United States and Other Foreign States of June 4, 2018.”

The decree comes into effect from the day of its official publishing and stays in force until these countermeasures are cancelled.

* * * * * * *

Comme d’habitude, gli ordini esecutivi di Mr Putin somigliano più ad ordini militari che a provvedimenti politici.

Secondo il documento, le missioni diplomatiche, le istituzioni consolari e gli uffici delle istituzioni governative di paesi stranieri che agiscono in modo ostile contro la Russia, i cittadini russi o le persone giuridiche dovranno affrontare restrizioni, o anche un divieto completo, se necessario, in termini di assunzione di cittadini russi.

Il governo è incaricato di definire il numero di individui che possono essere impiegati dalle missioni straniere.

Il documento è orientato a proteggere gli interessi e la sicurezza della Russia.

* * *

Questo è un gran brutto colpo all’intelligence svolta dagli stati stranieri ostili in Russia.

*


Executive Order on measures (countermeasures) in response to unfriendly actions of foreign states.

Vladimir Putin signed the Executive Order On Measures (Countermeasures) in Response to Unfriendly Actions of Foreign States.

April 23, 2021, 21:10.

* * *

Text of the Executive Order:

To protect the interests and security of the Russian Federation and in accordance with the federal laws of December 30, 2006, No 281-FZ On Special Economic and Coercive Measures and of June 4, 2018, No 127-FZ On Measures (Countermeasures) in Response to Unfriendly Actions of the United States and Other Foreign States, I hereby resolve:

  1. To restrict (including the imposition of a complete ban if necessary) the signing by diplomatic missions and consular agencies, representatives of government bodies and government agencies of foreign states that take unfriendly actions towards the Russian Federation, citizens of the Russian Federation or Russian legal entities, of labour contracts, employment agreements with workers (personnel) and of other civil-law contracts leading to labour relations with individuals on the territory of the Russian Federation.
  2. To establish that the number of individuals on the territory of the Russian Federation with whom contracts may be signed shall be determined by the Government of the Russian Federation.
  3. Contracts signed with individuals in excess of the number determined by the Government of the Russian Federation prior to the entry into force of this Executive Order shall be subject to termination.
  4. Provisions of items 1 and 3 of this Executive Order shall not apply to citizens of unfriendly foreign states that arrive (have arrived) from such states as employees of diplomatic missions and consular agencies, representatives of government bodies and government agencies of the relevant unfriendly foreign states.
  5. The Government of the Russian Federation shall:

    а) compile a list of unfriendly foreign states towards which the measures (countermeasures) established by this Executive Order apply;

  1. b) determine the number of individuals that are on the territory of the Russian Federation and with whom contracts may be signed;
  2. c) submit proposals, as necessary, to alter the measures (countermeasures) established by this Executive Order and the duration of such measures;
  3. d) ensure control over compliance with the labour rights of the citizens of the Russian Federation following the termination of their contracts in accordance with item 3 of this Executive Order.
  4. This Executive Order enters in force on the day of its official publication and shall be valid until the cancellation of the measures (countermeasures) it has established.
Pubblicato in: Commercio, Regno Unito

Regno Unito. Marzo21. Vendite al Dettaglio +7.2% anno su anno. – ONS.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-30.

2021-04-23__ Gran Bretagna - Vendite al dettaglio (Annuale) 001

L’Office for National Statistics ha rilasciato il Report Retail sales, Great Britain: March 2021.

2021-04-23__ Gran Bretagna - Vendite al dettaglio (Annuale) 002

                         Main points.

– Retail sales volumes continued to recover in March 2021, with an increase of 5.4% when compared with the previous month reflecting the effect of the easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions on consumer spending; sales were 1.6% higher than February 2020 before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

– Non-food stores provided the largest positive contribution to the monthly growth in March 2021 sales volumes, aided by strong increases of 17.5% and 13.4% in clothing stores and other non-food stores respectively.

– Food stores reported monthly growth of 2.5% in March 2021, with strong growth in specialist food stores (butchers and bakers) likely reflecting the continued closure of the hospitality sector during the Easter period.

– Automotive fuel retailers also reported strong monthly growth of 11.1% as travel restrictions were eased towards the end of the reporting period.

– Despite strong March figures, retail sales for the quarter have been subdued overall; in the three months to March 2021, retail sales volume fell by 5.8% when compared with the previous three months, with strong declines in both clothing stores and other non-food stores as a result of the tighter lockdown restrictions in place.

-The proportion spent online decreased to 34.7% in March 2021, down from 36.2% in February 2021 but still above the 23.1% reported in March 2020; the value of online spending did increase in March, but spending in-store increased at a faster rate.

2021-04-23__ Gran Bretagna - Vendite al dettaglio (Annuale) 003

….

                         A closer look at automotive fuel

The volume of sales increased by 11.1% in March 2021 when compared with February 2021 in this sector. This was the first monthly growth in the volume of sales since October 2020 as travel restrictions once again had a strong negative effect on the sector, which has seen sales levels remain below those witnessed before the pandemic began.

….

                         Online retail

Table 2 shows the month-on-month and year-on-year growth rates for the amount spent online by value, in addition to the proportion of online sales. The percentage weights indicate where money is spent online.

Online spending increased in March 2021, up 0.6% when compared with February 2021, with strong growth in textile, clothing and footwear stores of 10.9%. This was the largest monthly growth in the sector since June 2020 with feedback from retailers suggesting that the upcoming easing of coronavirus restrictions had prompted consumers to update their wardrobes in preparation for being able to meet friends and family outdoors again.

The proportion of online retail decreased in March 2021 to 34.7%, down from 36.2% in February 2021 but still remains far higher than the 23.1% reported in March 2020. ….

Pubblicato in: Cina, Economia e Produzione Industriale

Cina. 2021Q1. Settori in crescita tumultuosa. Un monito per l’occidente.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-30.

Cina 017

Sulla Cina si stanno scrivendo fiumi di parole, che alla fine stordiscono ed impediscono di prendere in considerazione i dati numerici, ossia la realtà dei fatti così come essi siano.

Fatto sì è che la Cina sta crescendo alla grande.

Questi dati dovrebbero essere meglio considerati dalla dirigenza europea e dai governi dell’Unione Europea, che corre il serio rischio di essere alla fine emarginata dal contesto produttivo mondiale.

Cina. Boao Forum for Asia 2021. Mr Xi ha tenuto un discorso da statista.

Cina. 2021Q1. Produzione Industriale +24.5% anno su anno.

Cina. 2021Q1. Vendite al dettaglio +33.90% anno su anno. Eurozona -2.9%.

Cina. 2021Q1. Pil +18.3% anno su anno.

Cina. Marzo 21. Export +30.6%, Import +38.1%, anno su anno.

Cina. 2020. Investimenti esteri +81% YoY. Superano quelli negli Usa.

H&M è scomparsa dalla Cina. Cerca di andare a Canossa, ma sarà dura. Se mai sarà.

Cina. Gennaio-Febbraio. Profitti Industriali +178.9% su dodici mesi, +20.10% anno su anno.

H&M, Nike ed Adidas offendono la Cina ed i cinesi non comprano più i loro prodotti.

Cina. Gennaio – Febbraio. Produzione delle raffinerie +15% anno su anno.

Immatricolazioni auto. Febbraio. UK -35.5%, I -12.3%, D -19.0%, F -20.9%, YoY. Cina +365%.

* * * * * * *

A seguito riportiamo alcuni risultati ottenuti nella settimana ultima scorsa.

«In the first quarter of this year, the total transport turnover of the country’s civil aviation industry was 20.3 billion tonne-kilometers, a 22.8 percent year-on-year increase »

«China’s civil aviation industry handled a total of 102 million air passenger trips and 1.78 million tonnes of air freight, respectively up 37.5 percent and 28.7 percent year on year»

«Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality posted a record-high foreign trade at 180.2 billion yuan (about 27.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of this year, customs data shows. The figure represents an increase of 60.4 percent over the same period last year»

«In the first quarter, overseas investors’ net purchases of Chinese stocks and bonds totaled 73.7 billion U.S. dollars, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said»

* * * * * * *

I governi dell’enclave liberal socialista occidentale possono dire e fare ciò che loro più aggrada, ma non saranno creibili fino a tanto che non evidenzieranno analoghi risultati.

* * *

China Mobile profit up 2.3 pct in Q1.

China’s Anhui sees robust growth of NEV production in Q1.

China’s software sector reports rapid profit growth in Q1.

China’s telecom sector sees faster revenue growth in Q1.

China Merchants Bank profit up 15 pct in Q1.

China issues 895.1 bln yuan in local gov’t bonds in Q1.

Overseas investors increase Chinese securities holdings in Q1.

China’s fresh produce exports to Mongolia see robust growth in Q1.

China’s Guizhou sees foreign trade surge in Q1.

*

China’s civil air transport sees continuous recovery in Q1.

China’s civil aviation industry saw continuous recovery in major indices in the first quarter, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

In the first quarter of this year, the total transport turnover of the country’s civil aviation industry was 20.3 billion tonne-kilometers, a 22.8 percent year-on-year increase, CAAC statistics show.

Over the same period, China’s civil aviation industry handled a total of 102 million air passenger trips and 1.78 million tonnes of air freight, respectively up 37.5 percent and 28.7 percent year on year.

Approximately 1.05 million flight movements were recorded in the first quarter, up 23.7 percent year on year.

In March, the number of domestic air passenger trips hit 47.68 million, exceeding the level seen during the same period in 2019.

China’s civil aviation authorities and industry players have made concerted efforts to boost recovery and sustain the growth of the sector, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pressure on the aviation industry persists due to sporadic COVID-19 cases in some parts of China and the challenging global pandemic situation, according to the administration. Enditem

* * *

China’s Chongqing posts record-high foreign trade in Q1.

Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality posted a record-high foreign trade at 180.2 billion yuan (about 27.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of this year, customs data shows.

The figure represents an increase of 60.4 percent over the same period last year, according to Chongqing Customs.

Exports surged 75.7 percent to 112.3 billion yuan, while imports reached 67.9 billion yuan, up 40.2 percent year on year.

The city’s export surge was mainly the result of its robust growth in exports of electronic products. In particular, its exports of laptops jumped 78.8 percent to reach 43.4 billion yuan, accounting for 38.6 percent of its total export value in the period.

Chongqing’s trade with major trading partners including ASEAN, the European Union and the United States respectively hit 30.2 billion yuan, 28.2 billion yuan and 26 billion yuan over the period, up 30.8 percent, 59.4 percent and 110 percent. Enditem

* * *

Overseas investors increase Chinese securities holdings in Q1.

Overseas investors stepped up their holdings of Chinese securities in the first quarter of this year.

In the first quarter, overseas investors’ net purchases of Chinese stocks and bonds totaled 73.7 billion U.S. dollars, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said at a press conference on Friday.

Mainland investors’ net purchases of Hong Kong-listed shares through stock connect programs amounted to 311.1 billion yuan (about 47.91 billion U.S. dollars) during the same period, according to SAFE.

These figures show that international payments and two-way cross-border investment are basically balanced, said SAFE spokesperson Wang Chunying.

The foundation for the stable operation of China’s foreign exchange market will remain solid in the future, said Wang, adding that the country’s new development paradigm is conducive to maintaining its balance of international payments. Enditem

Pubblicato in: Cina, Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale

Germania. Feb21. Import elettronica. Da Cina un terzo, da Asia oltre la metà. – Zvei.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-29.

2021-04-28__ Zvei Germania 001

Nei disperati e disperanti tempi nei quali si stava peggio, la Germania aveva un fiorente export di prodotti elettrici ed elettronici. In ‘made in Germany’ era un sigillo di garanzia di ottima qualità.

Poi venne la Merkel, e come disse Tacito sui romani in Inghilterra, “fecero il deserto e lo chiamarono pace”.

Ad oggi la Germania esporta briciolotti ed importa massivamente dalla Cina, dall’Asia e dai paesi ex Europa Orientale.

Se è vero che i controvalori in euro sono relativamente piccoli, sarebbe anche da sottolineare come il suo import verta materiali strategici, che la Germania non è più in grado di produrre.

Non è l’oriente aggressivo: è la Germania che sta sgretolandosi.

* * * * * * *


«German imports of electrical and electronic products were (once again) dominated by China in February 2021»

«The deliveries from there ballooned by 56.7% (year over year) to €4.8bn.»

«In light of this the overall imports from Asia soared by 26.1% to €7.5bn»

«Electric imports from Europe of €7.2bn exceeded their pre-year level by 8.3% in February»

«Here the development was starkly driven by the deliveries from the Eastern European countries of Poland (+43.0% to €1.1bn), Hungary (+27.1% to €871m), Romania (+10.4% to €433m) and the Czech Republic (+5.9% to €806m)»

«In contrast, imports from both the Netherlands (-5.7% to €433m) and France (-6.4% to €428m) were down»

«The deliveries from the USA collapsed by 27.1% (yoy) to €797m in February»

«Against this backdrop the imports from total America sagged by one quarter to €985m»

* * * * * * *

Ma il discorso fatto sulla Germania potrebbe essere traslato anche agli Stati Uniti, il cui export verso la Germania è crollato a febbraio del 27.1%.

Stiamo assistendo alla devoluzione dell’occidente liberal socialista.

*


Nearly a third of Germany’s electronic imports in February come from China

Berlin, April 26 (Xinhua) — Germany’s imports of electrical and electronic products in February increased by 12.7 percent year-on-year to 15.9 billion euros (19.24 billion U.S. dollars), nearly a third of which came from China, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI) announced on Monday.

“German imports of electrical and electronic products were once again dominated by China” in February 2021, ZVEI noted. Deliveries from China soared by 56.7 percent year-on-year to 4.8 billion euros. Imports from Asia rose by 26.1 percent and reached 7.5 billion euros.

“This means that almost half of all German electrical imports in February came from Asia, almost a third from China alone,” said ZVEI chief economist Andreas Gontermann in a statement.

Electric imports to Germany from other European countries increased by 8.3 percent to 7.2 billion euros, the development was “strongly driven” by deliveries from the Eastern European countries of Poland, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, according to ZVEI. Electrical imports from the United States, however, dropped by 27.1 percent in February.

Exports by the German electrical industry, on the other hand, only rose by 2.6 percent year-on-year to 17.2 billion euros in February, while exports to China “bounced up” by 21.7 percent year-on-year to 2.0 billion euros, ZVEI noted. Enditem

*


ZVEI Foreign Trade Report April 2021

«German imports of electrical and electronic products were (once again) dominated by China in February 2021. The deliveries from there ballooned by 56.7% (year over year) to €4.8bn. In light of this the overall imports from Asia soared by 26.1% to €7.5bn.

Electric imports from Europe of €7.2bn exceeded their pre-year level by 8.3% in February. Here the development was starkly driven by the deliveries from the Eastern European countries of Poland (+43.0% to €1.1bn), Hungary (+27.1% to €871m), Romania (+10.4% to €433m) and the Czech Republic (+5.9% to €806m). In contrast, imports from both the Netherlands (-5.7% to €433m) and France (-6.4% to €428m) were down.

The deliveries from the USA collapsed by 27.1% (yoy) to €797m in February. Against this backdrop the imports from total America sagged by one quarter to €985m.»

Pubblicato in: Diplomazia, Geopolitica Europea, Russia

Russia espelle sette diplomatici della Slovakia, Lituania, Lettonia ed Estonia.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-29.

Paesi Baltici 001

«Russia on Wednesday ordered the expulsion of seven diplomats from Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, in retaliation for the expulsion of Russian envoys in the wake of Czech accusations that Russian intelligence was behind a deadly 2014 blast»

«Russia’s foreign ministry gave the three Slovak and two Lithuanian diplomats, as well as an envoy from Latvia and another from Estonia, one week to leave Russia»

«Russia accused the four countries of showing “pseudo-solidarity” with the Czech Republic, which ordered most Russian diplomatic staff in Prague to leave last week after accusing Russian spies of being behind the blast at an ammunition depot»

«Russia denied involvement in that incident»

«Russia has branded the Czech accusations absurd and dismissed the Bulgarian probe»

«Moscow’s latest diplomatic expulsions come days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to draw up a list of “unfriendly” states that will be subject to restrictions»

* * * * * * *

Prosegue a pieno ritmo il crescendo di rappresaglie diplomatiche tra i paesi occidentali e la Russia.

Resta al momento molto difficile cercare di capire quando gli animi si acquieteranno.

Se si progredisse su questo confronto, allora solo una azione militare potrebbe diventare possibile e probabile, essendo l’unica opzione dirimente.

*


Russia expels diplomats from Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Russia on Wednesday ordered the expulsion of seven diplomats from Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, in retaliation for the expulsion of Russian envoys in the wake of Czech accusations that Russian intelligence was behind a deadly 2014 blast.

Moscow and Prague are locked in their biggest row since the end of the Communist era in 1989, which has spiralled into a series of diplomatic disputes with other European Union and NATO countries as Russia’s ties with the West linger at post-Cold War lows.

Russia’s foreign ministry gave the three Slovak and two Lithuanian diplomats, as well as an envoy from Latvia and another from Estonia, one week to leave Russia.

Russia accused the four countries of showing “pseudo-solidarity” with the Czech Republic, which ordered most Russian diplomatic staff in Prague to leave last week after accusing Russian spies of being behind the blast at an ammunition depot.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria said on Wednesday prosecutors were collecting evidence on the possible involvement of six Russians in four explosions between 2011 and 2020 at Bulgarian arms depots that were storing munitions destined for export to Ukraine and Georgia. read more

Russia has branded the Czech accusations absurd and dismissed the Bulgarian probe.

Moscow’s latest diplomatic expulsions come days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to draw up a list of “unfriendly” states that will be subject to restrictions.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday the list would soon be published. The ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, has already confirmed the United States would be on it.

Izvestia newspaper reported on Tuesday that the list could also include Poland, the Czech Republic and the three Baltic states.

The two suspects named by Czech authorities in the 2014 ammunition depot explosion, known under the aliases Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, were reported by the New York Times in 2019 to be part of the elite Unit 29155 in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after its publication that the article amounted to “pulp fiction”.

Britain charged the pair in absentia with attempted murder after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with the nerve agent Novichok in the English city of Salisbury in 2018. Russia denied involvement in that incident.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo

Spagna. Regionali Madrid. Partito Popolare dato al 41%.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-29.

2021-04-30__ Spagna 001

«Communism or Freedom»

*

Il 4 maggio si terranno le elezioni anticipate nella Regione di Madrid.

Stando ai sondaggi elettorali, il Partito Popolare dovrebbe conseguire il 41% dei voti, raddoppiando quasi il 22.2% delle passate elezioni.

* * * * * * *

«Spain’s main opposition Popular Party is poised to win May 4′s snap election in the key Madrid region, probably returning conservative Isabel Diaz Ayuso to power there in a blow to the leftist central government, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday»

«Ayuso has clashed with the government on issues from social policies to the COVID-19 pandemic response, notably keeping bars and shops open to support Madrid’s services-heavy economy, while other regions have shut non-essential activities»

«The vote in the region around the capital, Spain’s wealthiest, is seen as a mid-term test for the country’s fragmented political class»

«The survey by Metroscopia pollsters showed Ayuso’s PP winning 59 seats in the 136-seat regional assembly, up from 30 in the 2019 election, which means she would still need the support of the far-right party Vox to secure a majority»

«Ayuso, whom opponents label a populist in the mould of former U.S. President Donald Trump, has not ruled out a pact with Vox, which would get 13 seats according to the poll, which was carried out on April 20-26»

«Centre-right Ciudadanos, which ruled in a coalition with the PP until Ayuso called the snap election in March, is likely to lose all its seats in the assembly»

«The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will see its seats halved»

«Voters who are angry at the left-wing government understand the election as an opportunity to punish Pedro Sanchez through Ayuso»

«Communism or Freedom»

* * * * * * *

Sicuramente il Partito Popolare è riuscito a comunicare molto bene con gli Elettori, e lo slogan

«Communism or Freedom»

ha ben sintetizzato la situazione spagnola.

Ma il cuore della questione è ben più profondo e sottile.

«Voters who are angry at the left-wing government understand the election as an opportunity to punish Pedro Sanchez through Ayuso»

E di Elettori inviperiti contro Pedro Sanchez ce ne sono milioni.

*


Conservative PP to win snap election in Madrid region, poll shows.

Spain’s main opposition Popular Party is poised to win May 4′s snap election in the key Madrid region, probably returning conservative Isabel Diaz Ayuso to power there in a blow to the leftist central government, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday.

Ayuso has clashed with the government on issues from social policies to the COVID-19 pandemic response, notably keeping bars and shops open to support Madrid’s services-heavy economy, while other regions have shut non-essential activities.

The vote in the region around the capital, Spain’s wealthiest, is seen as a mid-term test for the country’s fragmented political class.

The survey by Metroscopia pollsters showed Ayuso’s PP winning 59 seats in the 136-seat regional assembly, up from 30 in the 2019 election, which means she would still need the support of the far-right party Vox to secure a majority.

Ayuso, whom opponents label a populist in the mould of former U.S. President Donald Trump, has not ruled out a pact with Vox, which would get 13 seats according to the poll, which was carried out on April 20-26.

Centre-right Ciudadanos, which ruled in a coalition with the PP until Ayuso called the snap election in March, is likely to lose all its seats in the assembly.

The Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will see its seats halved, the poll suggests, and the broader left, including the two far-left parties, Mas Madrid and Unidas Podemos, will secure just 64 seats.

“Voters who are angry at the left-wing government understand the election as an opportunity to punish Pedro Sanchez through Ayuso,” Metroscopia Director Andres Medina said in a report released on Tuesday.

Tensions between right and left have spiked in Madrid, where Ayuso is running with the slogan “Communism or Freedom”, escalating in recent days after Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias and several government officials received death threats by mail.

Iglesias and Podemos have adopted the slogan “Democracy or Fascism” after Vox questioned the authenticity of the letters.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Putin, Russia

Russia. Nuovi o perfezionati missili ipersonici. Kh-47M2 Kinzhal e 3M22 Zircon.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-28.

Kh-47M2 Kinzhal 001

«President Vladimir Putin says that Russia has developed unique offense weapons without the intention of starting a war with anyone but to maintain “strategic balance” and “strategic stability” in the world.»

* * * * * * *

Gli Stati Uniti hanno basi navali, aeronautiche e militari in senso lato quasi in ogni regione del mondo.

Tuttavia, il dominio militare globale non sarebbe stato possibile senza avere disponibile una flotta di portaerei nucleari. Queste, unitamente alla flotta militare e di appoggio che le circondano formano una forza offensiva che per decenni è stata egemone.

Tuttavia, la scienza militare insegna come nella storia si siano alternati periodi nei quali le strutture di difesa erano quasi imprendibili a periodi ove i mezzi di offesa potevano superarle facilmente. Un esempio per tutti le trincee e la mitragliatrice nella prima guerra mondiale, superate dalla introduzione del carro armato.

*

«The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (“dagger”) is a Russian nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM). It has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of its flight»

«The missile is designed to target US and NATO warships posing a threat to strategic missile systems in Russia’s European part and to destroy NATO missile defence system and ballistic missile defense ships and land objects close to Russia borders, such as one in Romania»

«It is allegedly designed to overcome any known or planned US air or missile defense systems including MIM-104 Patriot, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Aegis Combat System»

*

Alcun analisti americani mettono in dubbio le caratteristiche di questi missili e cruise ipersonici.

Il dubbio è lecito, ma proprio non vorremmo dover vederli in una azione bellica.

*


Kh-47M2 Kinzhal.

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (“dagger”) is a Russian nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM). It has a claimed range of more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi), Mach 10 speed, and an ability to perform evasive maneuvers at every stage of its flight. It can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads and can be launched from Tu-22M3 bombers or MiG-31K interceptors. It has been deployed at airbases in Russia’s Southern Military District.

The Kinzhal entered service in December 2017 and is one of the six new Russian strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 March 2018.

Design.

The missile is designed to target US and NATO warships posing a threat to strategic missile systems in Russia’s European part and to destroy NATO missile defence system and ballistic missile defense ships and land objects close to Russia borders, such as one in Romania. It is allegedly designed to overcome any known or planned US air or missile defense systems including MIM-104 Patriot, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Aegis Combat System.

The missile first stage is probably shared with 9K720 Iskander and the guidance section is specifically designed for this missile. It is capable of attacking fixed and movable targets such as aircraft carriers. The missile accelerates to hypersonic speed within seconds of launch and performs maneuvers at all stages of the flight trajectory to evade enemy missile defenses.

Russian media claims the missile’s range will be 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi; 1,100 nmi) when carried by the MiG-31K and 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi; 1,600 nmi) when carried by the Tu-22M3.

American commentators have been skeptical about Russian claims about the weapon.

Operational history.

The first operational unit armed with the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles was formed in Southern Military District of Russia in December 2017.

In May 2018, ten MiG-31Ks capable of using Kinzhal missiles were on experimental combat duty and ready to be deployed.

By December 2018, aircraft armed with Kinzhal missiles have conducted 89 patrol flights over the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

By February 2019, crews of the MiG-31K attack aircraft in role of Kinzhal missile carriers have performed more than 380 training flights with the missile, of which at least 70 have been carried with mid-air refueling.

The weapon made its public debut during the Aviadarts international contest in August 2019.

According to TASS, the first launch of Kinzhal in the Arctic took place mid-November, 2019. Reportedly, the launch was carried out by a MiG-31K from Olenya air base. The missile hit a ground target at “Pemboy” proving ground, reaching the speed of Mach 10.

*


Two down, more to go? With hypersonic weapons already in the field, Russia looks to improve features

Moscow — Hypersonic weapons are a top priority for the Russian government, a defense analyst with the state-run think tank IMEMO has told Defense News, and with two now fielded, the country is looking into further improving the technology.

“The so-called hypersonic technology is essentially an evolutionary development. However, it provides new, combined abilities for missile weapons: increased speed and maneuverability, and improved accuracy,” Dmitry Stefanovich said. “I can’t imagine a person who is responsible for the decision-making in the country and who wouldn’t be interested in improving all those features.”

By creating hypersonic technology that can overcome missile defense systems, Russia maintains “strategic stability and strategic balance,” President Vladimir Putin once told Russian news agency Tass in March 2020.

For Russia, hypersonic technology is also a way to avoid a quantitative arms race like the Soviet Union went through during the Cold War, said Viktor Litovkin, a retired colonel and military analyst with Tass. “We have no money to get involved in a quantitative arms race. You need to have a little, but the highest quality, which will restrain the adversary,” he said.

There are currently two hypersonic missiles with the Russian military: the Avangard and the Kinzhal. The former is a nuclear-capable missile reportedly able to fly faster than 20 times the speed of sound. The first Avangard infrastructure was set up in December 2019.

The Kinzhal (or “Dagger” in English) is a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile fielded in December 2017. Before entering the military’s inventory, it was tested with the MiG-31 fighter jet. Putin has said the weapon can exceed 10 times the speed of sound, but some missile experts have cast doubt on that capability.

Russian media previously reported the Kinzhal physically resembles the 9M723 ballistic missile developed for the Iskander tactical missile system. “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck,” Stefanovich said of the similarity.

Russia is also testing its 3M22 Zircon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile, expected to be installed on the modernized submarine-killing ship Marshal Shaposhnikov. The vessel is undergoing its owns tests. The head of Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC, Boris Obnosov, told Tass last month that the Zircon’s testing is going according to schedule.

The first launch of Zircon from the nuclear-powered submarine Severodvinsk will take place in June, industry officials said, according to reports from Tass this month. If testing goes well, the Zircon will be delivered to the military in the first half of 2022.

Obnosov has said hypersonic projects are among the top priorities for his company, adding that there are “several dozen” hypersonic efforts ongoing in partnership with the country’s several research and development institutes. He said a center dedicated to hypersonic technology efforts could be established to oversee the projects, without providing further information.

Tactical Missiles Corporation is Russia’s leading developer of hypersonic technology, so it might also be behind a recently tested prototype of an air-to-surface hypersonic missile meant for the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet. However, the company did not respond to questions from Defense News regarding its hypersonic projects.

*


Russia reports successful test launch of hypersonic missile

Moscow — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday [2020-10-07 n.d.r.] hailed the successful test launch of a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile as a “big event” for the country.

Speaking to Putin via a video call, Russian General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said the test launch took place Tuesday from the Admiral Groshkov frigate located in the White Sea, in the north of Russia.

The missile successfully hit a target in the Barents Sea, he added.

“Equipping our armed forces — the army and the navy — with the latest, truly unparalleled weapon systems will certainly ensure the defense capability of our country in the long term,” said Putin, who was celebrating his 68th birthday Wednesday.

In 2019, Putin had said the Zircon would be capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Unione Europea

Eurostat. 2020Q4. I debiti degli stati sono al 98% del pil del blocco europeo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-28.

2021-04-25__ Eurostat Q4 001

Eurostat. Government debt up to 98.0% of GDP in euro area.

2021-04-25__ Eurostat Q4 002

Fourth quarter of 2020. Government debt up to 98.0% of GDP in euro area. Up to 90.7% of GDP in EU.

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, still impacted by policy responses to the COVID-19 containment measures, which materialised in increased financing needs, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area stood at 98.0%, compared with 97.2% at the end of the third quarter of 2020. In the EU, the ratio increased from 89.7% to 90.7%. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 83.9% to 98.0%) and the EU (from 77.5% to 90.7%): the increases are due to two factors – government debt increasing, and GDP decreasing.

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2020, debt securities accounted for 82.1% of euro area and for 81.8% of EU general government debt. Loans made up 14.6% and 15.1% respectively and currency and deposits represented 3.3% of euro area and 3.2% of EU government debt. Due to the involvement of EU Member States’ governments in financial assistance to certain Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) are also published. The share of IGL as percentage of GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020 amounted to 2.0% in the euro area and to 1.7% in the EU.

Government debt at the end of the fourth quarter 2020 by Member State

The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020 were recorded in Greece (205.6%), Italy (155.8%), Portugal (133.6%), Spain (120.0%), Cyprus (118.2%), France (115.7%), and Belgium (114.1%), and the lowest in Estonia (18.2%), Luxembourg (24.9%) and Bulgaria (25.0%).

Compared with the third quarter of 2020, seventeen Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020 and ten a decrease. The largest increases in the ratio were observed in Hungary (+6.5 percentage points – pp), Spain (+6.0 pp), Greece (+5.9 pp), Austria (+5.0 pp), Romania (+4.2 pp) and Portugal (+3.1 pp). The largest decreases were recorded in Ireland (-2.8 pp), Latvia and Luxembourg (both -1.2 pp), and Cyprus (-1.0 pp).

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, all Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. The largest increases in the ratio were recorded in Greece (+25.1 pp), Spain (+24.5 pp), Cyprus (+24.2 pp), Italy (+21.2 pp) and France (+18.1 pp).

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, all Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. The largest increases in the ratio were recorded in Greece (+25.1 pp), Spain (+24.5 pp), Cyprus (+24.2 pp), Italy (+21.2 pp) and France (+18.1 pp).

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo

Francia. L’Esercito avverte. Seria possibilità di una guerra civile.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-28.

Cigni Neri 001

Dire la verità è il lusso che possono permettersi solo le persone libere.

«Controversy is growing in France over an open letter signed by former and serving members of the military, warning of the threat of civil war»

«Around 1,000 servicemen and women, including some 20 retired generals, put their names to the letter»

«”The hour is grave, France is in peril”»

«The letter warns French President Emmanuel Macron, his government and MPs of “several deadly dangers” threatening France, including “Islamism and the hordes of the banlieue” – the impoverished immigrant suburbs that surround French cities»

«The signatories go on to blame “a certain anti-racism” for creating divisions between communities, and seeking to create “racial war” by attacking statues and other aspects of French history»

«They also accuse the government of seeking to use the police “as proxy agents and scapegoats” in the popular “gilets jaunes”, or yellow vest protests of recent years»

«”It is no longer the time to procrastinate, otherwise tomorrow civil war will put an end to this growing chaos and deaths – for which you will be responsible – with numbers in the thousands,” the letter concludes.»

* * *

«Members of the French military, whether actively serving or reservists, are forbidden from expressing public opinions on religion and politics, and Ms Parly has called for those who signed the letter to be punished.»

«But French nationalist politician Marine Le Pen welcomed the letter, calling on the generals to join her in “the battle of France” – causing further controversy»

«And the analysis of France’s travails was identical to her own»

«If – in her view – the analysis is also one shared by a silent majority of the French, then she could hardly disown it»

* * * * * * *

Emmanuel Macron fatto fuori? Sondaggi, terremoto all’Eliseo: impensabile, chi gli soffierà il posto

«Marine Le Pen cresce nei sondaggi, avvicinandosi sempre più all’attuale presidente francese Emmanuel Macron. Secondo l’ultima inchiesta dell’istituto di sondaggi Eliabe, il 48% dei francesi ritiene che lei possa vincere le presidenziali. Mentre le proiezioni sul ballottaggio per l’Eliseo indicano che la Le Pen otterrebbe il 47% dei consensi. A quel punto nella battaglia tra lei e Macron lo scarto sarebbe minimo. Alle prossime presidenziali del 2022 in Francia, quindi, i cittadini non avranno solo il macronismo come opzione a disposizione»

* * *

La situazione francese è molto mal condizionata.

Francia. Prolunga di 10 anni la vita di 32 centrali atomiche. Ecologisti affranti e disperati.

Francia. Febbraio 21. Produzione manifatturiera -7.1%, totale -6.6%. – Insee.

Francia. 2020. Debito pubblico salito di 270 miliardi al 115.7% del pil. – Insee.

Francia. Il nuovo lockdown abbatterà il pil 2021. – Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Francia. Popolarità di Macron al 37%, testa a testa con la Le Pen per le presidenziali.

Francia. Forte rischio di numerosi default nel debito delle imprese.

Francia. 2020. Pil -8.3% anno su anno, Exports -16.7, Imports -11.6%. – Nises.

Eurostat. Eurozona. Novembre. Vendite al dettaglio -6.1% MoM. Francia -15.7%.

* * *

Macron ha dimostrato di essere incapace di contenere l’epidemia da Coronavirus e, soprattutto, di gestire la crisi economica e sociale. Le banlieue sono in subbuglio e la rivolta dei Gilet jaunes è ancora ferita sanguinante e purulenta.

La Francia non è Parigi, e Parigi non è la Francia.

Potrebbe anche essere arrivata l’ora della Le Pen.

Sempre che prima non arrivi una sanguinosissima guerra civile.

*


Anger as ex-generals warn of ‘civil war’ in France.

Controversy is growing in France over an open letter signed by former and serving members of the military, warning of the threat of civil war.

Around 1,000 servicemen and women, including some 20 retired generals, put their names to the letter.

“The hour is grave, France is in peril,” they wrote last week.

Ministers have strongly condemned the message, which was published by a right-wing magazine on the 60th anniversary of a failed coup d’état.

“Two immutable principles guide the action of members of the military with regard to politics: neutrality and loyalty,” tweeted the minister in charge of the armed forces, Florence Parly.

However far-right leader and candidate in next year’s presidential election, Marine Le Pen, has spoken out in support of the former generals.

                         What does the letter say?

The letter warns French President Emmanuel Macron, his government and MPs of “several deadly dangers” threatening France, including “Islamism and the hordes of the banlieue” – the impoverished immigrant suburbs that surround French cities.

The signatories go on to blame “a certain anti-racism” for creating divisions between communities, and seeking to create “racial war” by attacking statues and other aspects of French history.

They also accuse the government of seeking to use the police “as proxy agents and scapegoats” in the popular “gilets jaunes”, or yellow vest protests of recent years.

“It is no longer the time to procrastinate, otherwise tomorrow civil war will put an end to this growing chaos and deaths – for which you will be responsible – with numbers in the thousands,” the letter concludes.

                         What has the reaction been?

Members of the French military, whether actively serving or reservists, are forbidden from expressing public opinions on religion and politics, and Ms Parly has called for those who signed the letter to be punished.

“For who have violated the duty of reserve, sanctions are planned, and if there are active soldiers among the signatories, I asked the chief of staff of the armed forces to apply the rules… that is to say, sanctions,” she told radio network France Info on Monday.

Ms Parly cited the case of a former general in the Foreign Legion who was expelled from the military for taking part in a protest against migrants in Calais.

                         Why was the timing significant?

Minister of Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher told France Info she “unreservedly condemned” the generals “calling for an uprising… 60 years to the day after the generals’ putsch against General de Gaulle”.

The failed coup d’état involved generals seeking to prevent Algeria – then a French colony – from gaining independence.

But French nationalist politician Marine Le Pen welcomed the letter, calling on the generals to join her in “the battle of France” – causing further controversy.

Her response came on the same day as a fatal knife attack at a police station south-west of Paris, which is being treated as a possible terrorist attack.

* * *

                         Why Marine Le Pen backed the letter.

Many in the French media are expressing surprise that Marine Le Pen came out in support of the generals.

Cosying up to would-be putschists is what her father was supposed to specialise in. He was the one who was close to the anti-Gaullist hardliners of 60 years ago. He was the one who loved to flirt with illegality. Not Marine and her new-look National Rally.

So has she miscalculated? Some think so.

Coming out for a group of ex-generals – even of the armchair variety – who are so obviously overstepping the bounds and dabbling in politics – this makes it much easier for President Macron to paint her as a traditional French reactionary, heir to her father, Vichy and the rest.

Voters from the mainstream right, who might have been tempted by her apparent recent conversion to the EU and sound money, will perhaps be thinking twice.

But looked at another way, maybe Marine Le Pen felt she had no choice but to back the letter. After all, no-one thinks there is any serious chance of a military coup, so she didn’t think she could be accused of encouraging insurrection.

And the analysis of France’s travails was identical to her own. If – in her view – the analysis is also one shared by a silent majority of the French, then she could hardly disown it.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Commercio, Devoluzione socialismo

Svizzera – Cina. Uyghur, macchine tessili e concorrenza tedesca e giapponese.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-27.

2021-04-26_ Svizzera Cina 001

«Most of the big Swiss textile machinery companies have local production in China and only export high-end components from Switzerland»

«In its 2017 annual report, Saurer indicated that 37% of its 4,400 employees were in China, while only 3% were in Switzerland»

«When it comes to textile machinery, customs data retrieved from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) shows that Xinjiang imports most of its machinery from three countries: Germany ($26.8M, 46.5%), Japan ($23.4M, 40.6%) and Italy ($7.4M, 12.8%).»

«Switzerland, however, is a major exporter of knitting machine accessories such as spindles, dobbies, and automatic stop motions used in big spinning, weaving or knitting machines»

«Customs data shows that in 2019 knitting accessories were the second-largest Swiss export to Xinjiang after industrial printers»

«Although the total value is small, China, and Xinjiang in particular, relies heavily on Switzerland for some machinery and parts.»

«Shelly Han from the Fair Labour Association, an NGO which was established in the US to advance labour rights protections after the sweatshop scandals in the 1990s, told SWI swissinfo.ch that she doesn’t believe every factory in Xinjiang uses forced labour»

«You have to figure out who you are selling to and what it is being used for»

2021-04-26_ Svizzera Cina 002

* * * * * * *

2021-04-26_ Svizzera Cina 003

Da un po’ di tempo i governi degli stati liberal occidentali accusano la Cina di ogni sorta di nefandezze, ivi compreso il supposto “genocidio degli Uighuri”. La Cina nega fermamente ogni addebito, ma l’occidente liberal non se ne cura e le impone sanzioni.

Caso da manuale di sdoppiamento della personalità, da dottor Jekyll e Mr Hyde, è la dicotomia emergente tra governi politici e realtà produttive, le quali continuano imperterrite a commerciare con la Cina, come se nulla fosse.

Adesso possiamo configurare i termini del problema.

Le imprese che vendono i loro prodotti sono o meno responsabili dell’uso che poi ne farà l’acquirente?

Gli oggetti sono neutri, sottoposto a giudizio legale ed anche morale è l’uso dei medesimi.

Un coltello affilato può essere usato per tagliare delle fettine di salame, così come per sgozzare una persona.

Il coltello non c’entra nulla, così come la coltelleria che lo abbia venuto.

«You have to figure out who you are selling to and what it is being used for»

Questa è la posizione delle aziende tedesche, giapponesi, italiane e svizzere che vendono impianti tessili alla Cina e che vi hanno decentrato parte della loro produzione.

* * * * * * *

Sarebbe troppo facile il solo prendere atto del dato di fatto, ma il ragionamento giuridico, etico e morale, anche se esula le nostra competenze, dovrebbe essere ben approfondito.

*


The Swiss textile machinery industry has a China dilemma.

Amid allegations of forced labour involving Uyghur and other minorities in the garment supply chain, the Swiss textile machinery sector faces thorny questions about its ties to and reliance on China.

In 2014, the same year the Swiss-China free trade deal went into force, a group of industry colleagues including a representative of the Swiss firm Uster Technologies visitedExternal link cotton gins and spinning mills in Xinjiang, Western China. The trip included a visit with the then-Deputy Commander of the Xinjiang Construction and Production Corps, also known as XPCC.

Over the next several years, the Swiss textile machinery industry would benefit from the expansion of textile production in Xinjiang. By 2017, Switzerland was the largest exporter of knitting accessories such as spindles and spare parts to Xinjiang, according to customs data.

This was two years before the release of the so-called China CablesExternal link: leaked documents from within the Chinese Communist Party that revealed details about an alleged state-sponsored campaign of repression against Uyghur and other ethnic minorities in the Western region of the country, including forced labour in the textile supply chain.

US government sanctions on the XPCC and some textile manufacturers over the allegations have put the spotlight on brands like Nike and H&M, who have become entangled in a consumer backlash for expressions of concern over the situation.

Usually safely under the radar, Swiss firms like Rieter and Uster that sell textile machinery to factories in China including Xinjiang are now facing difficult questions of their own about the industry’s heavy reliance on China.  

Niche market

It’s difficult to know how many Swiss textile machines wind up in Xinjiang. Customs dataExternal link shows that Xinjiang imported $6.4 million (CHF6 million) worth of machines of all sorts from Switzerland in 2019, making the Alpine country the 37th-largest exporter of machinery to the region.

When it comes to textile machinery, customs data retrieved from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) shows that Xinjiang imports most of its machinery from three countries: Germany ($26.8M, 46.5%), Japan ($23.4M, 40.6%) and Italy ($7.4M, 12.8%). 

Switzerland, however, is a major exporter of knitting machine accessories such as spindles, dobbies, and automatic stop motions used in big spinning, weaving or knitting machines.

Customs data shows that in 2019 knitting accessories were the second-largest Swiss export to Xinjiang after industrial printers. Over the last three years, Switzerland exported knitting machine accessories to the autonomous region worth around $2 million per year.

Although the total value is small, China, and Xinjiang in particular, relies heavily on Switzerland for some machinery and parts.

While Germany supplied the vast majority of knitting machine accessories exports to Xinjiang in 2019 (almost 91%, accounting for $39.7M), Switzerland played a particularly big role at the height of Xinjiang’s major textile industry expansion a few years ago. In 2017, Switzerland was ahead of Germany, accounting for around half of knitting accessory exports to Xinjiang.

According to the Zurich-based International Textile Manufacturers Federation (ITMF), there was a massive increase in the shipment of rotor spinning machines to China, from 383,000 in 2015 to 634,000 in 2016. “The main reason was that more spinning capacity was relocated from the coastal regions to major cotton growing regions of [Western] China,” Christian Schindler from ITMF told SWI swissinfo.ch.

Subsidiaries, mergers and acquisitions

But export data only shows part of the picture. Ernesto Maurer, president of the Swiss Textile Machinery Association, noted in the association’s 75th-anniversary brochureExternal link that “through their numerous international subsidiaries, Swiss textile machine manufacturers control far more [market share] than is revealed by national customs statistics”.

This is because most of the big Swiss textile machinery companies have sales agents and subsidiaries with local production in China and only export high-end components from Switzerland.

The number of mergers and acquisitions in the industry also makes it difficult to see where production takes place. Textile machinery firm ITEMA, which is headquartered in Italy, is the result of a fusion of various brands including Swiss brand Sultex. ITEMA has production facilities in several countries including China, Switzerland and Italy. Japanese company Toyota Industries took over Uster Technologies back in 2012.

Some companies have been bought out entirely by Chinese investors and only maintain offices or research arms in Switzerland. Chinese firm Ningbo Cixing bought Swiss company Steiger in 2010, helping it become one of the biggest flat-knitting companies in the world. Another Chinese firm, Jinsheng, bought the 150-year old Saurer brand from the Oerlikon Group in 2012. In its 2017 annual report, Saurer indicated that 37% of its 4,400 employees were in China, while only 3% were in Switzerland.

That same year, SaurerExternal link set up a wholly owned subsidiary, Saurer Xinjiang, producing two million carding, roving frame, winding spinning and rotor spinning systems to “meet growing demand” as textile production expanded in the region. The factory was fully operational in 2019.

Supplier ties

Machines with origins in Switzerland, wherever they are ultimately produced, are being used in factories that have been slapped with US sanctions over allegations of forced labour. In May 2019, the Wall Street JournalExternal link reported that Xinjiang residents were forced into training programs that send workers to area factories, some of which were weaving yarn or spinning textiles for major brands.

The Chinese government has denied the allegations and defended the program as a mass training campaign aimed at lifting the ethnic group out of poverty and fighting terrorism. 

According to the Lausanne-based newspaper Le TempsExternal link, the Swiss group Rieter sold 66 Ring Spinning G32 machines, used to weave cotton, to the Chinese company Huafu Top Dyed Melange Yarn in 2019. The paper reports that Swiss firm Uster also sold equipment to Huafu, which landed on the US blacklist in 2020.

Another company on the US blacklist – Hong Kong-based Esquel Group – has cotton mills in Xinjiang that use equipment from Uster. Two of the millsExternal link in Xinjiang – Changji Esquel Textile Co and Turpan Esquel Textile Co. Ltd – received a quality seal from Uster in 2019.

Esquel, which has operated in Xinjiang since 1995, has denied allegationsExternal link of forced labour and noted that a third-party audit found no evidence of it. The company states on its website that its Changji spinning mill is an “advanced state-of-the-art, highly automated factory” that only requires 45 technicians compared to a traditional mill that requires 150 employees to operate. Some of the highly automated machinery is from Swiss firm Rieter, as seen in this videoExternal link from the company.

When asked for more information, Rieter said that it doesn’t provide information about business relationships with individual customers.

Saurer’s 2019 annual report indicated that its Xinjiang factory participated in a local government scheme to increase employment among ethnic minorities, hiring 95 ethnic minority employees in its new plant.

In response to a request for more details, the company said that “the ethnic minority employees at the company’s Urumqi plant are engaged in a variety of positions and range from shop floor workers to university graduates, working in all industrial fields”.

Shelly Han from the Fair Labour Association, an NGO which was established in the US to advance labour rights protections after the sweatshop scandals in the 1990s, told SWI swissinfo.ch that she doesn’t believe every factory in Xinjiang uses forced labour. However, she adds, there is no way to prove a negative.

“We believe that companies can’t do effective due diligence in Xinjiang at all because of the extreme surveillance [by the Chinese government]. This means auditors have no freedom of movement and workers can’t speak openly,” said Han.

In December, the FLA stopped sourcing from Xinjiang because the situation “defies conventional due diligence norms” and therefore it couldn’t rule out forced labour. This marked the first time in its 20-year history that the association told companies it works with such as Adidas and Patagonia not to source from a particular country or region.

Cut and run

In this context, companies increasingly face reputational risks from any business ties to Xinjiang or to allegations of forced labour. And, the questions are unlikely to go away as recent reportsExternal link suggest workers are being forcibly transferred from Xinjiang to other provinces.

But can an industry that sells a machine that sits on a factory floor for years be held accountable to the same extent as a brand that continually buys fabric or cotton t-shirts made with alleged forced labour?

Dorothée Baumann-Pauly from the Geneva Centre on Business and Human Rights says to imagine the fallout from a picture of a Uyghur worker sitting at a machine bearing the name “Rieter” appearing on the front page of a major newspaper.

“Companies selling machinery to the region face some of the same questions as those selling technology that could be used for surveillance,” she said. “You have to figure out who you are selling to and what it is being used for.”

Han argues that machinery companies should know who they are in business with. “You may not necessarily be directly contributing to human rights abuses, but you are contributing to a system that is creating these human rights abuses. And in in the case of Xinjiang, it is a system,” said Han.

And Angela Mattli from the Swiss NGO Society for Threatened Peoples questions how seriously companies are taking the situation.

“You need to have a red line as a company. You have to expect certain information from business partners in China. And, you need to have exit clauses in your contracts,” The NGO has initiated a dialogue with the Swiss machine industry association, Swissmem, over the situation in Xinjiang.

What companies say

Swiss textile machinery companies who responded to SWI swissinfo.ch all expressed a similar message of zero tolerance for discrimination or human rights abuse.

In an emailed statement to SWI swissinfo.ch, Rieter wrote that it “rejects forced labour. This principle is anchored in the Rieter Code of Conduct,” and that in all of its business relationships, it is “committed to comply with all relevant laws and regulations”.

Saurer said it takes “great pride in ensuring that we respect the personal dignity, privacy and personal rights of our employees.

Uster Technologies wrote to SWI swissinfo.ch that they “only work with partners who treat their employees fairly and comply with applicable law,” including refraining from using forced labour and that “we have so far never directly experienced any circumstances indicating that any of our clients were acting against our code of conduct”.

The companies, however, didn’t comment on the specific allegations about Xinjiang or provide details about how they ensure suppliers or customers comply with their standards.

Florian Wettstein, a professor of business ethics at the University of St Gallen who has written about silent complicity, told SWI swissinfo.ch that companies have to consider what signal their presence sends to the outside world and if it lends legitimacy to human rights abuses.

He added though that the importance of the Chinese market means that “companies are extremely careful about what they say”.

A delicate position

The situation for Swiss companies is particularly delicate. China is Switzerland’s third-largest trading partner, and Switzerland was the first Western country to sign a free trade deal with the superpower.

China represented about 17% of Swiss textile machinery exports in 2019 and 16% in 2020 (CHF474 million). The Chinese market is seen as key to helping the export sector weather uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the industry is facing tough competition from China itself. Total exports of Swiss textile machinery have declined in the last few years as China’s own machinery sector becomes more sophisticated and Swiss companies establish more local production in China. Most textile machinery is now produced in China and by Chinese companies.

“Foreign competitors are not sleeping. They’re catching up technologically,” said Stefan Brupbacher, director of the machinery umbrella organisation Swissmem. “Barring Swiss companies from selling and servicing China as a market would give Chinese and foreign companies a big advantage over Swiss companies in a thriving market”. Chinese production not only serves the local market but many other manufacturing markets.

Political levers

Given the industry’s delicate tightrope walk with China, it is unlikely that companies will speak up or change their practices without some political pressure or cover. This is especially true after seeing how the Chinese government and consumers retaliated against H&M and Nike over their expressions of concerns over the situation in Xinjiang.

Schindler told SWI swissinfo.ch that “these contentious issues with regards to trade are for governments to deal with. The companies are focused on meeting customer demands”.

Rieter also wrote that it relies on the political institutions that deal with this matter. An Uster spokesperson said that “it is not up to us to set or change these regulations or to take sides in any discourse of governments”.

For its part, the Swiss government has not taken a hard line with China. Both the Swiss parliament and the government recently rejected a proposalExternal link for an import ban on goods made with forced labour which would have been similar to what is stipulated in the US Tariff Act. The European Union has also slapped sanctions on some individuals.

Brupbacher of Swissmem questions the effectiveness of boycotts and unilateral sanctions. “Trade helps foster a middle class. We’ve seen that in China, where trade has helped lift millions out of poverty.”

The Swiss economics ministry confirmed to SWI swissinfo.ch that it has been in touch with individual textile machinery companies and that it is “planning an exchange with various companies from the textile machinery industry on the human rights situation in Xinjiang” but that a date has not been set.

Two weeks ago, the Swiss government released its first-ever China strategy that noted a desire to continue human rights dialogue with China. China’s ambassador to Switzerland lashed out saying the criticism sent the wrong signals and was based on false accusations.

In a recent interview in Zurich’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung, foreign minister Ignazio Cassis said sanctions were being analysed but that Switzerland has its “own foreign policy”.

Cassis also said that he welcomed companies taking responsibility for their supply chains.

“If companies do not take responsibility, the state intervenes and regulates.”