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Trade War: US-China Prompts Major Shifts in Goods Flows

11th June 2019
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Of the $250 billion in Chinese exports subject so far to US tariffs, more than 80% will be captured by firms in other countries, with the EU set to make the biggest gains, study estimates. AFLOAT's photo above depicts deep-sea containership Mette Maersk berthed at Felixstowe, the UK's busiest 'box'boat port which is almost opposite of Harwich from where was inward bound the cruiseship Marco Polo. Today, the veteran classic cruiseship is visiting Dublin Port while docked at Ocean Pier. Of the $250 billion in Chinese exports subject so far to US tariffs, more than 80% will be captured by firms in other countries, with the EU set to make the biggest gains, study estimates. AFLOAT's photo above depicts deep-sea containership Mette Maersk berthed at Felixstowe, the UK's busiest 'box'boat port which is almost opposite of Harwich from where was inward bound the cruiseship Marco Polo. Today, the veteran classic cruiseship is visiting Dublin Port while docked at Ocean Pier. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

The trade war between the US and China is prompting major shifts in goods flows, impacting all modes of transport, according to a number of new studies into the impact of trade tariffs.

As Lloyd’s Loading List reports Europe has multiple opportunities to benefit from the conflict even as it suffers from lower growth forecasts, not least by negotiating better trade arrangements and economic access with China.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), more than 80% of the trade hit by US and Chinese tariffs will be picked up by other countries – with the EU set to make the biggest gains.

The study estimates that of the $250 billion in Chinese exports subject so far to US tariffs, about 82% will be captured by firms in other countries, about 12% will be retained by Chinese firms, and only about 6% will be captured by US firms. Similarly, of the approximately $85 billion in US exports subject to China’s tariffs, about 85% will be captured by firms in other countries.

“Countries that are expected to benefit the most from US-China tensions are those which are more competitive and have the economic capacity to replace US and Chinese firms,” said the report.

European Union exports are forecast to increase the most, capturing about $70 billion of US-China bilateral trade - $50 billion of Chinese exports to the United States, and $20 billion of US exports to China. Japan, Mexico and Canada will each capture more than $20 billion.

The UNCTAD findings are partially supported by a report from Nomura released last week, although it expects countries in Asia to be the biggest beneficiaries of product or sourcing substitution.

For more on the state of global trading relationships, click here.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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