Traditional Chinese medicine is a booming $30bn business
Traditional Chinese medicine is a booming $30bn business

Cheap wines, African rivalry and fork-related fraud – the supply chain in numbers

9 September 2016


The predicted fall in the price of a litre of Australian wine in the UK after Brexit is complete. Wine Australia, the government body that represents the industry, says ending EU duty on imported wine would save its producers £24m in import duty. In 2015, the UK exported 247m litres of Australian wine.


The number of unfilled vacancies in the American construction industry, 81% more than in 2014. The labour shortage is driving up builders’ costs and slowing down construction. One company in Denver says it could build 10% more homes this year if it could find the staff.


The amount of public and private money Japan has pledged to invest in Africa in the next three years. The announcement angered China which has accused Japan of following its own “self interests” in a quest for badly needed raw materials. Yun Sun, a fellow of the Africa Growth Initiative, said of the great powers rivalry: “It would be hypocritical of China to say everything it does in Africa is selfless – and everything Japan does is selfish.”

30 hours

The length of the working week Amazon is piloting with selected employees. The online giant is testing a scheme under which technical teams, consisting entirely of 30-hour-a-week staff, would receive 73% of the wage for a full working week. In the past, the company has been criticised for creating a culture that encourages staff to work 80 hours a week. 


The amount that Lithuania’s Ministry of Defence may have overspent on kitchen utensils for its armed forces. An investigation by the Lithuanian Procurement Office found that in some instances, the ministry was paying eight times the market price for these utensils. President Dalia Grybauskite has urged defence minister Juozas Olekas to resign as a result of the scandal.


The number of 3D printing companies General Electric acquired this week. For a total outlay of $1.4bn, it has bought Sweden’s Arcam and Germany’s SLM Solutions which both make machines that can print metal parts used in aircraft components.


Biologists’ working estimate of the world’s polar bear population. The main threat to the world’s largest land-based carnivores is that their icy natural habitat is melting away. The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment warns that this shrinkage could lead to a 30% reduction in the number of polar bears by 2060.


The value of the traditional Chinese medicine industry, which is now worth 30 times as much as it was 20 years ago. The country’s approach to medicine is enjoying more profile and prestige abroad after researcher Tu Youyou became the first Chinese winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine for her work in discovering artemisinin, a leading cure for malaria.


The year Mexico signed a treaty giving away half its land to America. Among the territory ceded are the present US states of California, Nevada, Texas and Utah, most of Arizona and New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter has suggested scrapping the treaty if Donald Trump becomes the next US president.

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