However, despite the disruption this year, the effects of the tariffs remain clear and the long-term shifts that were already occurring before the pandemic are unlikely to be reversed. One of the most obvious impacts is the shift in the Asian manufacturing landscape. Manufacturing of many goods now facing tariffs when imported by the US from China, has moved out of China for manufacturing in neighbouring countries.
One of the most obvious examples is US imports of Christmas tree lights which has seen Cambodia take over a large part of China’s market share. Another example is US imports of bicycles.
“As the tariffs have provoked a shift in manufacturing within Asia rather than a return of production to the US, volumes being shipped out of Asia remained quite stable before the pandemic hit. The biggest change was in intra-Asian volumes,” says Peter Sand, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst.