China edges past US as Europe’s top trade partner

T

ThomasJog

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Wow. The Chinese government sucks. But the U.S. is not entirely innocent either, always playing right into Chinas hands.

So how we explain the U.S. agreeing to the smallest change of all countries involved?
 

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China edges past Mexico as top US trade partner​

Noi MahoneyMonday, December 7, 2020
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China was the United States' top trade partner in October, accounting for almost $60 billion in imports and exports. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

China is again the top trading partner of the United States, with trade totaling $59.6 billion in October, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

China’s total trade with the U.S. rose 25% in October compared to the same month a year ago, with imports from China increasing 14% and U.S. exports to China increasing 51%.

Mexico fell to No. 2, as its total trade with the U.S. rose a moderate 0.57% to $53.66 billion in October, compared to the same period in 2019. Canada was third with $48 billion in total trade with the U.S. in October.

U.S. imports from Mexico rose 7% during October, compared to the same period in 2019. U.S. exports to Mexico declined almost 10% during October.

Ed Habe, vice president of Mexico sales at less-than-truckload (LTL) and logistics firm Averitt Express, said the trade imbalance between Mexico and the U.S. has affected cross-border operations for years.

“When it comes to transporting goods from Mexico to the U.S., the primary issue has been the ongoing imbalance,” Habe told FreightWaves. “There is much more freight needing to move from Mexico to the U.S. than vice versa. This issue makes it difficult and more expensive to consistently cover northbound loads.”

Cookeville, Tennessee-based Averitt Express operates about 1 million square feet of distribution space at more than 20 locations in the Southeast and Midwest. The company recently expanded its facility in Laredo, Texas.

Mexico’s trade with the U.S. has also been slowed by the struggling cross-border automotive and energy industries — from vehicles and parts to oil and fuels — which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Cross-border trade has always been dominated by automotive-related products,” Habe said. “With the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement [USMCA], this trend will continue to grow even stronger.”

U.S. imports of passenger vehicles from Mexico fell 27% during October to $23.34 billion. Imports of commercial vehicles fell 16% to $18 billion, and imports of auto parts declined 16% to $18 billion.

Habe added that carriers are seeing more diversification in cross-border shipments in recent years.


“Interestingly, aeronautic industries have sprouted up in different areas of Mexico such as Chihuahua and Queretaro. Appliances, including washing machines and refrigerators, are also coming out of Mexico to the U.S.,” Habe said. “The U.S. demand for Mexican food and beverages is increasing thanks to the growing Latino American consumer group.”

While Mexico’s trade with the U.S. was up slightly in October, it decreased 15% through the first 10 months of 2020 to $440 billion compared to the same period last year, according to a WorldCity.

Since vehicles and auto parts make up a large part of cross-border shipments through Laredo, the port fell to No. 3 among the nation’s 450 airports, seaports and border crossings in October.

Port of Los Angeles ranked No. 1 among U.S. gateways in October, followed by Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Port Laredo was briefly the No. 1 U.S. trade port during 2019 but has been slowed as trade with Mexico recovers bit by bit from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Port Laredo’s total trade with the world was $21 billion in October, an increase of 7.5% from the same month in 2019.

Year-to-date, Port Laredo’s trade with the world has fallen 14.6% to $167 billion, compared to $196 billion during the same period in 2019.

From January through October, Port Laredo’s top trade partners were Mexico ($163 billion) and China ($938 million).

Steven Hirsch, regional general manager of Nolan Transportation Group (NTG), said early in the COVID-19 pandemic more unfinished products were being shipped to Mexico to be completed, causing a big wave of shipments through Texas.

Atlanta-based NTG is a third-party logistics provider for over 7,000 customers across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico specializing in truckload and less-than-truckload, as well as expedited, partial, refrigerated, drayage and intermodal.

“Recently, there has been a significant drop in volume for U.S. to Mexico shipments, which is largely due to the decreased buying-power of the peso,” Hirsch said. “That being said, Mexico to U.S. shipments remain steady as regulations and procedures have been unchanged.”

Hirsch added that, “capacity is tighter than usual across the board but capacity on cross border shipments is more consistent, as you don’t have new carriers getting a new MC and doing cross border shipments so suddenly. The carriers are more consistent, as the barrier to entry isn’t as easy.”

 

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China-U.S. Farm Ties Are Stronger Than Ever Despite Trade War
Bloomberg News
December 08 2020, 11:20 AM December 08 2020, 12:50 PM

(Bloomberg) -- Measured by the bushel, the U.S.-China relationship has never been stronger.

 

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China-U.S. Farm Ties Are Stronger Than Ever Despite Trade War
Bloomberg News
December 08 2020, 11:20 AM December 08 2020, 12:50 PM

(Bloomberg) -- Measured by the bushel, the U.S.-China relationship has never been stronger.

US is very smart, taking full advantage of China's sanction against Australia, snatching a big Chinese maket share from the Aussies hands and leaving Aussies high and dry all by themselves.
 

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China dominates world export markets despite US trade war​

NOVEMBER 29, 2020


TOKYO/BEIJING -- The extent of the global economy's dependence on China is becoming clear.

With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting global logistics, there has been growing momentum to reduce dependence on China in supply chains. But China's share of global exports is actually rising, and is now even exceeding the level before the Sino-U.S. trade war broke out in 2018. Some believe that the recently agreed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a free trade agreement between 15 countries in Asia and Oceania, will boost China's presence in global trade yet further.

The number of products of which China holds a high share in export markets is increasing.

Nikkei analyzed data on 3,800 products compiled by the International Trade Center and found that there were 320 products in 2019 in which China held a share of more than 50% in export markets. By comparison, in 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization, the number was 61 products.

The number of products of which China had a high share stopped increasing from 2016 onwards, when U.S. President Donald Trump took office and then the trade war began, but the number increased again last year.

Exports of China-made small computers accounted for 66% of the entire export market in 2019 at a value of $95.6 billion. The share of liquid crystal components used in personal computers and smartphones also exceeded 50%, and the shares of air conditioners (57%), ceramic washstands and toilet seats (80%), were also high.

There has been a surge in demand for these products due to the coronavirus and stay-at-home-orders around the world, with the pandemic thus spurring the increase in Chinese exports. This trend is clear when the share of China's exports in the major economies was calculated.

In February, China's exports accounted for 14% of the total export values of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries plus China. The number steadily increased; 17% in March, 24% in April, as Beijing contained the pandemic while other countries struggled.

Since April, the rate has continued to exceed 20%, surpassing the historical annual peak of 19% reached in 2015. The rebound of consumption in Europe and the U.S. over the course of 2020 has also become a tailwind behind Chinese goods, with the latest statistics showing that the country's exports are now above levels before the Sino-U.S. trade war began.

According to the customs office in the city of Tianjin, the largest port in northern China, exports are steadily increasing. Supply chains in China have recovered earlier than in other countries, and manufacturers are increasing their production. One trading company in Tianjin, which asked not to be named, told Nikkei that they have order backlogs of bicycles and furniture of more than two years.

However, the increasing dependence on Chinese goods is a growing risk for importing countries. In Japan, shortages of masks and medical equipment became acute this spring, because Chinese products were less available for import due to fierce global demand for them. Although there is momentum to revise the supply chain, action is slow.

The Japanese government has decided to provide subsidies to companies that will move their factories in China back to Japan, and has received 1,760 applications, including from companies that make semiconductors, liquid crystal components and health care products.

However, many products are not profitable if they are made in Japan, where labor is relatively expensive. China was the source of roughly 80% of protective gowns imported into Japan between May and July. One company which has started production in Japan, and which asked not to be named, claims that it cannot compete with Chinese-made goods unless the Japanese government purchases its products.

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings President Hitoshi Ochi said production costs and related governmental regulation would be key to companies being able to make these strategic decisions on production. "We are not going to produce in Japan without considering carefully," he said. The company will continue to produce red resin, used in car headlamps, in China.

The RCEP, signed on Nov. 15, might accelerate the trend of China's increasing presence in the region, as it will establish a free-trade zone in Asia. According to a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, global exports will increase $500 billion in 2030 due to positive effects such as tariff cuts. China will benefit the most, with the value of its exports expected to increase $248 billion.

The study said: "RCEP will address crucial areas not yet covered or covered only by 'hub-and-spoke' provisions that do not support integrated, multicountry supply chains. With these links, RCEP will encourage further interdependence." As the trade war continues with the U.S., China is expected to accelerate exports to Asian countries, winning market share from India and Taiwan, which are not part of the RCEP.

Japanese companies are aiming to improve their productivity by making high-value-added products at home, but to maintain competitiveness, the strength of China's supply chain cannot be ignored. As Naoto Saito, a researcher at the Daiwa Institute of Research, points out: "Japanese companies need to deepen relations with China, while paying attention to Chinese government intervention in the private sector and protecting intellectual property."


 

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With Americans Stuck at Home, Trade With China Roars Back
Reducing trade with China was supposed to happen in 2020. But demand for Chinese goods has soared amid pandemic lockdowns.

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Cargo containers at the Port of Oakland in California. U.S. consumer demand is so strong that many supply chains are clogged, snarling major ports and delaying delivery of holiday gifts by several weeks.Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

By Ana Swanson
  • Dec. 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — American imports from China are surging as the year draws to a close, fueled by stay-at-home shoppers who are snapping up Chinese-made furniture and appliances, along with Barbie Dream Houses and bicycles for the holidays.

The surge in imports is another byproduct of the coronavirus, with Americans channeling money they might have spent on vacations, movies and restaurant dining to household items like new lighting for home offices, workout equipment for basement gyms, and toys to keep their children entertained.

That has been a boon for China, the world’s largest manufacturer of many of those goods. In November, China reported a record trade surplus of $75.43 billion, propelled by an unexpected 21.1 percent surge in exports compared with the same month last year. Leading the jump were exports to the United States, which climbed 46.1 percent to $51.98 billion, also a record.

That surge has defied the expectations of American politicians of both parties, who earlier this year predicted that the pandemic, which began in China, would be a moment for reducing trade with that country and finally bringing factories back to the United States.

“The global pandemic has proven once and for all that to be a strong nation, America must be a manufacturing nation,” President Trump said in May. “We’re bringing it back.”

But despite Mr. Trump’s restrictions on Chinese goods, including tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of its imports, there is little sign that global supply chains are returning to the United States. Instead, the prolonged effects of the pandemic on the United States appear to have only reinforced China’s manufacturing position.

China employed draconian lockdowns and extensive surveillance to shake off the effects of the pandemic earlier this year, allowing its factories to reopen at a large scale more quickly than businesses in America, where the disease is still running rampant. With many American companies, especially those based on services, crippled by coronavirus, consumers are pumping their money into online shopping for manufactured goods instead.

Mary E. Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute, said that U.S. imports from the world were on track to be lower this year than in 2019, but that China’s overall share of U.S. imports would likely increase.

“Overall, China’s quick economic recovery and its dominance as a source for products that Americans have turned to during the pandemic have outweighed the dampening effect of Trump’s tariffs,” she said.

Consumer demand is so strong that it has overwhelmed the capacity of the cargo industry, leading to a record spike in shipping rates. The surge in shipments is clogging many supply chains, snarling major ports and delaying delivery of holiday gifts by up to several weeks.

At the Port of Los Angeles, the country’s largest processor of container cargo and the gateway for many Chinese goods, shipping containers carrying Chinese imports are stacked like Legos in piles six high. Truckers jam the parking lots, waiting hours to pick up goods, which are then dispatched across the continent.

October was the busiest month in the port’s 114-year history, and traffic has remained high. On Dec. 1, dockworkers were busy unloading 19 vessels, compared with 10 to 12 on a normal day, said Gene Seroka, the port’s executive director. Twelve more ships waited in the harbor, which, on average, had been waiting about 48 hours beyond their scheduled arrival, he said.

“We’re going through a time that truly is unprecedented,” Mr. Seroka said. “You’re trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag. This ordering and replenishment is bigger than anything we’ve seen, and now it coincides with holidays.”
 

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China returns as top India trade partner even as relations sour​

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Two-way trade between China and India stood at US$77.7 billion (S$102.65 billion) last year.PHOTO: REUTERS

Feb. 22 2021

MUMBAI (BLOOMBERG) - China regained its position as India's top trade partner in 2020, as New Delhi's reliance on imported machines outweighed its efforts to curb commerce with Beijing after a bloody border conflict.

Two-way trade between the longstanding economic and strategic rivals stood at US$77.7 billion (S$102.65 billion) last year, according to provisional data from India's commerce ministry. Although that was lower than the previous year's US$85.5 billion total, it was enough to make China the largest commercial partner displacing the US - bilateral trade with whom came in at US$75.9 billion amid muted demand for goods in the middle of a pandemic.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned hundreds of Chinese apps, slowed approvals for investments from the neighbor and called for self-reliance after a deadly clash along their disputed Himalayan border, India continues to rely heavily on Chinese-made heavy machinery, telecom equipment and home appliances. As a result, the bilateral trade gap with China was at almost US$40 billion in 2020, making it India's largest.

MUMBAI (BLOOMBERG) - China regained its position as India's top trade partner in 2020, as New Delhi's reliance on imported machines outweighed its efforts to curb commerce with Beijing after a bloody border conflict.

Two-way trade between the longstanding economic and strategic rivals stood at US$77.7 billion (S$102.65 billion) last year, according to provisional data from India's commerce ministry. Although that was lower than the previous year's US$85.5 billion total, it was enough to make China the largest commercial partner displacing the US - bilateral trade with whom came in at US$75.9 billion amid muted demand for goods in the middle of a pandemic.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi banned hundreds of Chinese apps, slowed approvals for investments from the neighbor and called for self-reliance after a deadly clash along their disputed Himalayan border, India continues to rely heavily on Chinese-made heavy machinery, telecom equipment and home appliances. As a result, the bilateral trade gap with China was at almost US$40 billion in 2020, making it India's largest.

"Still a very long way to go" is how Amitendu Palit, an economist specializing in international trade and investment at the National University of Singapore, described New Delhi's efforts to wean itself away from Beijing. "The PLI schemes will take at least four-five years to create fresh capacities in specific sectors. Till then reliance on China would continue."

 
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