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Tariffs threaten import/export trade at ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach

US tariffs introduced over the past two years - and the retaliatory tariffs that ensued - threaten US$186 billion in the nation's economic activity and could result in $31 billion to $35 billion in extra costs to manufacturers and consumers, a study by the port of Los Angeles has found

Tariffs threaten import/export trade at ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach

US tariffs introduced over the past two years - and the retaliatory tariffs that ensued - threaten US$186 billion in the nation's economic activity and could result in $31 billion to $35 billion in extra costs to manufacturers and consumers, a study by the port of Los Angeles has found

17 November 2019 - 19:00

US tariffs introduced over the past two years - and the retaliatory tariffs that ensued - threaten US$186 billion in the nation's economic activity and could result in $31 billion to $35 billion in extra costs to manufacturers and consumers, a study by the port of Los Angeles has found.

The study, 'By the Numbers: Jeopardising the National Benefits of Trade through America's Busiest Port Complex', is based on international trade moving through the neighbouring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that are major import and export ports, particularly for the trade with Asia.



'Every urban, suburban and rural community across our nation benefits from imports and exports moving through the San Pedro Bay ports, and ongoing tariffs are putting those benefits at risk,' said port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka. 'Some regions and industries are already feeling the pain, and the damage to jobs, income and tax revenue could be crippling down the road.'



The study notes that most of the US import tariffs that have been imposed or proposed are directed at China, which accounts for the majority of the imports handled by these two San Pedro Bay ports, including 57 per cent of containerised imports by value. The share of import value that may be impacted by tariffs is estimated to be 56.1 per cent of containerised cargo, 16.7 per cent of non-containerised cargo and 52.7 per cent of total cargo, reported American Shipper.



Retaliatory tariffs lower the demand for US exports, the study notes, which leads to foreign consumer markets looking elsewhere for products. This trend was reflected in the latest cargo volumes at the port of Los Angeles, which suffered the biggest October volume decline in two decades.



The port's October volumes also marked 12 straight months of declining US exports, 25 per cent less ship calls, and a 19.1 per cent year-on-year decrease in volume.



Mr Seroka said the outlook for the fourth quarter is 'extremely soft', with the port forecasting November to be down an additional 10 per cent from the same period last year, with a weak December in spite of the looming December 15 deadline on another $160 billion worth of Chinese imports.



Tariffs and the trade wars have hit the US agricultural sector particularly hard, according to the study, with 26 per cent to 51 per cent of agricultural exports from all 50 US states hit by tariffs, based on trade through San Pedro Bay.


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