陳浩庭每週短評: 世界的新時代(二)

Posted 12 February 2017 12:00 AM by Raymond Chan

本文繼續上週美國總統特朗普掀起反全球化的議題。特朗普要求美國跨國企業將輸出到外國的工序撤回美國本土,除了一般的企業減稅措施,還有為國際供應鍊設置關稅,和通過雙邊貿易協議來改寫規則 (關於特朗普喜歡雙邊易協議,而非多邊,可參閱上文《世界的新時代 (一)》),使投資者相當擔憂。

特朗普警告企業:不想橫生枝節,就留在美國。

本週筆者想分享英國雜誌《經濟學人》一篇報道,指出跨國企業早就展開回巢美國的趨勢。這也是筆者想清楚解說的重點 --- 特朗普的背後是美國保守派精英。

全球化成本優勢漸減

文章指,被視為全球化推動者的跨國企業,早於去年美國大選前已經逐步撤出跨國供應錬,將生產基地陸續撤回美國。業績不佳是主要原因,不少跨國企業的財政表現一直下滑,這裡是財政表

現並非單純指盈利,而是在海外生產的成本效益,很多跨國企業到了海外,依然要為削減成本疲於奔命,卻難以與當地的企業競爭。

這情況放在中國一些外資生產鍊上相當適用。例如中國從粗放型經濟轉型的過程中,必須逐步收緊規定,減低製造業對環境造成的損害,許多不得不落實的新政策致使生產條件變得不穩定,造成時效不彰,而時效在國際供應錬中尤其重要。筆者一個從事進口生意的客戶,近月因為中國打擊污染企業,無法出貨,最令人意想不到的是,突然停產的並非他批發的電子商品,而商品所用的紙皮箱。

跨國企業的影響有多大?根據《經濟學人》,世界上每五十個僱員當中,就有一人受僱於跨國企業,意味數千個跨國企業直接連繫著數以億人的衣食住行。這些企業包括國際商業機器 (IBM) 、連鎖快餐店麥當勞、汽車生產商福特等等,加起來佔全國貿易總額一半,佔世界股巿巿值三分之一,並坐擁絕大部分的知識產權。

不貿易.就戰爭

回顧跨國企業全球化的進程,與中國密不可分,在改革放開期間藉著廉價土地、勤奮低薪的工人、加上政策得宜,一躍成為世界工廠。文章指,一間設在中國的廠房,採用德國的生產設備,其管理者身在美國,在盧森堡繳稅,再把產品銷售到日本。當年先進國家的企業期望用低成本先拔頭籌,落後國家則歡迎跨國企業帶來資金、職位和技術。

中國最大電子商務網站阿里巴巴集團創辦人馬雲到墨爾本設總部,在接受訪問時說:「不貿易,就戰爭。」很多傳媒錯誤地引用這句話,其實馬雲所指是一個著名的理論,如果貿易的代價低於戰爭,國家之間就不會發動戰爭,原意是指貿易可帶來和平。

對自由經濟學派而言,甲國善於生產糧食,應集中生產糧食;乙國善於製造商品,應集中製造商品,然後用貿易換取所需。從上世紀八十代至千禧的頭十年,都是自由經濟學派理想中的黃金時代。

全球化黃金時代一去不返

可是這個時代正一去不返,《經濟學人》稱,跨國企業在過去五年利潤下跌25%,資本回報率跌至二十年最低水平,能倖免的只是少數科技公司和明星品牌,其餘都在苦苦爭扎,約40% 跨國企業的股本回報率低於10%。大部分行業的增長愈來愈慢,盈利甚至比沒有走出國門的企業低。

 

十年前跨國企業佔全球企業盈利35%,現在跌至30%。此現象廣泛存在於製造業、金融、天然資源、傳媒和電訊行業。文章斷定,全球化成為負累,不再是優勢。當然,中國工資上漲、政策變動,以及備受爭議的知識產權保護問題,使中國製造的很多優勢不再。

可以肯定的是,特朗普的出現將加速全球化逆轉的速度,儘管他並非始作俑者。

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