Home / Shipping / Aviation/ China’s imports to US ports start peaking early amid tariff threat

China’s imports to US ports start peaking early amid tariff threat


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 16 July 2018 00:00


Workers stack empty shipping containers for storage at Wando Welch Terminal operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, US - REUTERS

 

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Chinese imports to U.S. ports rose more than expected in June, suggesting that some retailers moved up orders to insulate themselves from an intensifying trade war that threatens to send up costs on a growing number of consumer products.

Retailers such as Walmart Inc and Amazon.com face uncertainty due to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, and the jump in imports from the country was likely because of “pre-emptive buying in anticipation of the tariffs”, said Ben Hackett, founder of international maritime consultancy Hackett Associates.

“This is a bump that isn’t quite normal,” he said.

The U.S. container port peak season is traditionally driven by orders for Chinese-made clothing, electronics and toys for the back-to-school season running from June to September, and then the winter holiday season.

The volume of loaded shipping containers from China to all U.S. ports was up 6.3% in June from a year earlier after falling 6.9% in May and 3.9% in April, said Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, the busiest U.S. container port and No. 1 hub for ocean trade with China.

Seroka’s data was sourced from IHS Markit’s PIERS and analyzed by Port of Los Angeles staff.

Data about specific products and buyers, which is compiled from paperwork filed when goods are delivered, was not immediately available.China said on Friday exports unexpectedly accelerated in June. Officials previously said that Chinese exporters were front-loading shipments to the United States to get ahead of expected tariffs.

Walmart and Amazon declined to comment.Trump has vowed to reset the United States’ global trade agreements, which includes a threat to impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods. Retailers, who place orders for general merchandise up to a year in advance, can offset additional costs by raising prices or finding new suppliers in countries not subject to import levies.

On July 6, the U.S. imposed 25% tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, including flash drives, remote controls and thermostats, from a list of $50 billion in products first proposed in April. China quickly fired back with tariffs on an equal value of U.S. goods, including soybeans, whiskey, cotton and automobiles.

Those are unlikely to immediately affect retailers.

The Trump administration raised the stakes in the trade battle on Tuesday with a plan to add 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including furniture, handbags, pet food, refrigerators, textiles and auto parts.

That new round could hit during the autumn lead-up to the all-important Christmas and winter holidays. Many products purchased for that season will have arrived at ports well ahead of the imposition of the new levies.

 


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Of love and struggle: The interconnected feminist movements of South Asia

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The last Cat’s Eye column observed all that there is to celebrate in the recent Supreme Court of India’s judgement on Sec. 377, which decriminalised adult consensual same-sex sexual activity in private. We used this ‘magnificent’ decision, wh


Accessibility at buildings and places – Indispensable need to enjoy civil rights

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Have you not yet realised that the chances are now very high that at any stage or any moment in life, for a short time or for a long time, for different reasons, you or your loved ones could experience physical and/or sensory impediments, and fall in


Over-tourism: The new buzz word in tourism

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Periodically the tourism industry is in the habit of coming up with some interesting name to describe a new emerging trend or situation in the industry. Sometimes the phenomena is not new, but has become relevant and topical enough to ‘package’ a


Depreciation of the rupee and Sri Lanka’s dilemma

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The rupee depreciated by Rs. 29 from 2005 to 2014 and the average year-on-year depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee was 2.8% per year. Official foreign reserves increased from $ 2.7 billion to $ 8.2 billion over the same period. In stark contrast, th


Columnists More