Vietnam big winner in US-China trade war, but it's no BCO cure-all

IMPORTS from China to the US fell 6

14 June 2019 - 19:00

IMPORTS from China to the US fell 6.5 per cent year on year in the first five months of the year to TEU, while imports from Asia excluding China increased 14.6 per cent to 2.25 million TEU, according to Alphaliner data.

Vietnam is the biggest beneficiary of the Sino-American trade war, growing its exports to the US by 30.7 per cent to 564,420 TEU, said the Paris research house.

'Transpacific carriers have been cashing in on the increased volumes from Vietnam, adding two new direct calls at northern Vietnam's Haiphong (HICT) this year to complement 12 calls at Vietnam's southern port of Cai Mep,' said Alphaliner.

But some are sceptical. Bloomberg reported that Chinese firms were producing fake product-origin certificates and making illegal transfers to avoid tariffs, routing US exports through Vietnam.

According to Alphaliner data, US containerised imports grew overall by 2.8 per cent between January and May, to 9.3 million TEU. After Vietnam, the biggest winners in Asia were Malaysia with a 19.8 per cent gain, Thailand at 18.1 per cent, Taiwan at 11.5 per cent, South Korea at 11.1 per cent and India with 11 per cent.

Other notable above-par increases were recorded from Africa, at 14.3 per cent, the Middle East, at 10.3 per cent, Europe, at 8.1 per cent and Latin America, 6.6 per cent.

London's Drewry Maritime Research the 'weaponisation of tariffs is forcing cargo owners to seek cover and re-shape global supply chains to avoid fallout'.

Drewry warned that cargo owners having identified a new location should be aware that there can be no guarantees that the new production countries won't find themselves being targeted by future tariffs.

'Switching the locations of production is not something done lightly and cargo owners have to weigh a myriad of factors, including local labour costs and skills, infrastructure and proximity to demand, as well as political and legal stability - that all varies in importance depending on the sector,' said Drewry analysts


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