News and Column

12/24/2018 【News】No beneficiaries of the US-China trade dispute

As the US trade dispute with China gains momentum, experts analyse which countries would benefit most from the dispute. Asian countries like Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia are luring electronics and computer companies to their shores while Cambodia, Philippines and Bangladesh are seeking more opportunities to increase their market share in apparel and footwear segment. Similarly, Thailand and Vietnam plan to explore the global household consumer goods market like washing machines and refrigerators.

Fewer opportunities outside China
A study by American Chamber of Commerce South China (AmCham South China) published on October 29, 2018, surveyed 219 companies for the impact of US and China tariffs. Less than one per cent indicated any plans to relocate their manufacturing to North America. Similarly in a joint study of 430 firms by AmCham China and AmCham Shanghai in September 2019, only 6 per cent respondents indicated any plans to relocate production to the US.
There are limitations on how much production can be moved out of China. The country, over the years, has nurtured a highly trained, skilled and disciplined workforce. Its infrastructure, roads, ports and integrated logistical support is best in terms of its ability to handle the volume of goods produced. Furthermore, its workforce is more than double that of all Southeast Asia combined. So, the limitations of other counties to takeover China’s capacity nullify the cost benefits they offer of moving production out of China.

Trade disputes impact on Asian countries
A recently released Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) by various Asian countries suggests which countries could be benefiting from the US-China tradedispute at the moment. The monthly Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM) published on November 2 was below the 52.2 forecast of economists polled by Bloomberg.

Similarly, Indonesia’s PMI last month declined to 50.5 from 50.7 the previous month, Malaysia's was lower at 49.2 compared with 51.5 a month earlier, Taiwan, 48.7 from 50.8, Thailand 48.9 from 50, Hong Kong 47.9 from 48.5, South Korea 51.0 from 51.3. China saw a minute increase from 50.0 the prior month to 50.1 last month and in the Philippines the same 0.1 point increase to 52.0.
Vietnam saw largest gain among major Asian economies reaching 53.9 from 51.3 in the previous month. This is not surprising considering Vietnam has been consistently identified by certain US companies as the preferred location in Southeast Asia.

Advantage India
India gained 0.9 points from a month ago to 53. If it puts its strategies in place, India might play a major part in the re-shaped global supply chain. A study by India's Department of Commerce recently identified about 100 products where India can replace US exports to China due to higher import tariffs imposed by China on US farm products. These include corn, grain sorghum, oranges, cotton, almonds and durum wheat.
Another report by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) concluded with concerted effort, India can increase its exports of products like pumps, parts of taps, parts for the defence and aerospace industry, vehicles, automobile parts and engineering goods among others. At the moment, this is still an aspiration. These figures indicate that in general no one gains from the trade gain which will have a negative impact not only in the US and China but also on various industries, companies and countries.

Source:The Apparel News  *Extenal site

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