Today most US Christmas lights come from Cambodia - not China
US imports of Christmas tree lights is a shining example of the shift in manufacturing taking place in Asia as a result of the US-China trade war, according to BIMCO chief shipping analyst Peter Sand
US imports of Christmas tree lights is a shining example of the shift in manufacturing taking place in Asia as a result of the US-China trade war, according to BIMCO chief shipping analyst Peter Sand.
'Cambodia is basically taking over in supplying the US with Christmas tree lights,' said Mr Sand, reported American Shipper. In the first 10 months of the year, China shipped 113 million fewer sets of Christmas tree lights to the US than it did the previous year - a 66.1 per cent drop from the same 2018 period.
In the first 10 months of 2019, US imports of Christmas lights from all countries were down 4.3 per cent, but imports from Cambodia were up 223 per cent and Asian countries - other than China and Cambodia - are up 100.7 per cent.
The changes illustrated by Christmas lights are taking place on a much larger scale, Mr Sand said.
During the first nine months of the year, while sea borne containerised imports from Asia to the US were up one per cent, they were down 7.3 per cent from China but up 31.6 per cent from Vietnam and up 32.8 per cent from Cambodia.
'The continued, albeit modest, growth in US imports from the whole of Asia reflects a reshuffling of exporting nations that has occurred in the Far East. This has manifested itself in two ways,' Mr Sand said.
'First, the trade war and added tariffs on goods from China has speeded up the process - which had already begun - of some manufacturing moving away from China in favour of its neighbours with lower labour costs.
'Second, the trade war has led to products, still being produced in China, being transhipped through neighbouring countries to change their country of origin and thereby avoid additional tariffs when they arrive in the US,' Mr Sand said.
However, the shift in manufacturing has not been a boon to the intra-Asia container trade, he said, pointing out that in the first three quarters of 2019, volumes were flat.
Neither have freight rates - both spot rates, as measured by the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (CCFI), or contract rates, as measured by the China Containerised Freight Index (CCFI) - to the US west or east coasts seen a positive effect.