The latest trade war between the US and China may repeat a situation like last year’s in which American’s ports were flooded with goods to beat new tariffs. US importers, shippers, and retailers are supporting the new round of punitive duties on Chinese goods set to hit in two steps, September 1 and December 15, likely to drive a rush to get products before the holiday season as they did last year.
At the end of 2018, the surge helped major US ports notch all-time cargo records. The executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka said, “Folks didn’t need the goods that were coming in. It was simply a financial play to avoid the higher taxation.”
After Trump’s declaration of the latest tariff tailor-made to produce another year-end holiday rush, the ports of the frontline of the US-China trade war are suffering. But some experts think the import surge could be more modest this time around.
On August 1, the US President announced his plan to impose 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods on September 1. The move targets all products not hit by tariff rounds. Trump last week revised his decision after retailers outcried over the impact on consumers and delayed tariffs on more than half the list, sparing toys, cell phones, laptops, and other items until December 15.
The fresh schedule will provide a great chance to shippers to consider frontloading their orders cargo, accelerating their orders to beat the new taxes. Seroka told sources, that the shippers are asking themselves, “Can the factories produce quickly enough, can we advance orders?”
“It’s a similar conversation to the ones we had last year,” it added. The owner of the Delta Enterprises, Joe Shamie told reporters, “We will frontload”. He added, “There’s limits to how much I can finance. There’s limits to what I can store.”