Email of the day on journalistic independence.
Comment of the Day

September 22 2020

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on journalistic independence.

Dear Eoin, I suppose you are doing well since I’ve been following your research through all these months. Pandemic changed a lot of things, but we had the crisis of our own. We built the leading Russian business daily but this year, after more than 20 years of our efforts, it was effectively taken from us through machinations brought about by forces close to Kremlin. You can have a look, this is the early July statement by Reporters Without Borders 

By now, almost all members of the newsroom have left, Vedomosti degraded very quickly and stopped being independent, honest and objective. But a group of journalists and editors including myself have launched the new online publication VTimes - . The full-fledged launch including new web-site is scheduled for October but we’ve been active with our articles and podcasts on social platforms, such as Telegram, Facebook etc., since August and feel tremendous support from readers many of whom switched from Vedomosti to VTimes. Last week we began crowdfunding campaign that can be supported from anywhere. I have already used your most valuable comments in my stories for VTimes and will continue to do so.

I am writing now about rather quick rebound of the global trade. In particular, according to calculations by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the trade volumes recovered about half of this year’s historic loss in four months while it took 13 months after 2008 crisis had begun. Some other information on the issue can be found in the WSJ story - 

And major exporters of goods, such as China, Korea, Germany, now recover quicker than economies more depending on services. You several times wrote about US-China trade from your personal point of view, or rather your wife’s business. I also remember you describing situation in Los Angeles port. Can you tell, what is the situation now, for me to get first-hand experience?

Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you for this update and please accept my condolences in seeing your work disappear into the hands of an interloper. I also wish you the best of luck with your new venture. Journalistic independence is under threat all over the world, not just in Russia. The price for holding a contrary opinion is rising all the time. That’s a clear sign of deteriorating standards of governance globally which suggests the risk premium is rising.

I’ve seen the same data on trade rebounding and I am looking forward to heading down to the port in a couple of weeks when our ship arrives. A couple of points are already evident. China’s exports have surged because of demand for personal protective equipment but also because of restocking. Many firms have seen their inventory depleted and imports are increasing as economic activity rebounds.

The cost of shipping goods has increased substantially. That’s as much about the sudden rebound in demand as it is about the lack of shipping capacity. Many ships were mothballed during the lockdowns and it will take time to bring them back on line. The additional cost of meeting IMO-2020 emissions rules will be a significant deciding factor in how many return to service.

An additional development is a number of US customs brokers and freight forwarders decided to retire with the lockdowns. Mrs. Treacy found it quite difficult to find a new one and spent many days negotiating to achieve a fair price.  

Last year it was quite apparent at the port that the trade war was weighing on activity. I agree it will be interesting to see how busy the customs warehouses are this year.

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