Tariffs take their toll

The Port of Los Angeles is feeling the effects of the US – China trade war Photo: Port of Los Angeles The Port of Los Angeles is feeling the effects of the US – China trade war Photo: Port of Los Angeles
Industry Database

The trade war between the US and China is starting to bite, with a Californian port reporting that cargo movements last month dropped by nearly a fifth compared to the same period in 2018.

The Port of Los Angeles moved 770,189 teus in October, a 19.1% decrease compared to 2018’s record-breaking month. After 10 months of 2019, total volumes have increased 1.8% compared to last year, which was the busiest year ever at America’s top port.

“With 25% fewer ship calls, 12 consecutive months of declining exports and now decreasing imports, we’re beginning to feel the far-reaching effects of the US - China trade war on American exporters and manufacturers,” said Port of Los Angeles executive director, Gene Seroka.

“We expect soft volumes in the months ahead and with the holiday season upon us, less cargo means fewer jobs for American workers. We need a negotiated settlement and the tariffs lifted.”

Hopes of a deal

Exports have declined 19.3% to 140,332 teus, the 12th consecutive monthly decline but there may be a glimmer of hope as China has indicated that a deal can be reached to end the trade war after agreeing with Washington to roll back some tariffs.

The first stage trade deal will force Beijing to end a moratorium on purchases of some US agricultural goods such as soya beans in exchange for Washington applying lighter tariffs on Chinese imports such as clothing, meat and electric appliances.

“There are still hurdles to be overcome, but it is encouraging that, contrary to last spring, Chinese negotiators are sending more positive signals, as well as their US counterparts,” said Raoul Leering, head of international trade analysis at the investment bank, ING.

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