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Vietnam is the biggest winner from theshift in supply chains caused by the nearly year-long trade war between Chinaand the United States, according to a report, as importers from the world’s twolargest economies sought to avoid paying increased tariffs.
The economy of the Southeast Asian nationhas been boosted by almost 8 per cent because of the shift in productionresulting from the US-China trade war, according to analysis by Japaneseinvestment bank Nomura.
The bank studied trade data for the world’s50 biggest economies. Its report spanned from the first quarter of 2018,shortly before the US released its first list of Chinese imports on which itplanned to increase tariffs, to the first three months of 2019. The goal was togauge the extent of the trade diversions – the redirection of goods to avoidpaying duties.
Taiwan’s exports, meanwhile, shrank by 3.3per cent in April from a year earlier, meaning that despite the fact that it ispicking up some of China’s trade diversion, it is suffering as a result oflower demand in China, which is by far its largest trading partner, accountingfor 28.8 per cent of total exports.
“Importantly, these results suggest that if the US follows through onits threat to impose 25 per cent tariffs on its remaining US$300 billion ofimports from China, it could lead to substantially more import substitution,given that a much larger proportion of this tranche of imports comprises ofelectronic products,” Nomura’s analysts wrote.
Nomura found that 12 out of the top 20companies listed on the American S&P 500 stock index with net sales inChina were electronic companies with a combined revenue of US$144 billion lastyear. The US is now soliciting public comments on the Trump administration’splan announced in May to impose tariffs of up to 25 per cent on the remainingUS$300 billion worth of Chinese goods, with a hearing set to take place on June17. If a similar pattern to previous tariff imposition is followed, the nextraft could be in place as early as July.
“If recent US business restrictions on China’s Huawei and ZTEtechnology companies escalate into a ‘cold war’ on technology, the potentialfor major reallocation of global value chains should not be underestimated, asChina’s tech giants shift from US suppliers to local ones, and as multinationalsthrough the supply chain turn to new suppliers and customers,” the report said.
The shift in supply chains has shaved 0.5per cent from China’s GDP this year, compared with 0.3 per cent in the US,since exports to US made up a larger share of China’s economy, according to theresearch.
“Higher US tariffs penalise not only theassembler of the product, but also suppliers through the value chain, andsmaller Asian economies are particularly vulnerable, given Asia’s elaboratue chains with China at the epicentre,” the report concluded.