BIMCO have stated that all-trade restrictive measures are bad for the shipping industry, and that a trade war would negatively impact both the industry and the global economy.
These words come after the Trump Administration enacted a metals tariff plan putting a 25% tariff on imports of steel and a 10% tariff on imports of aluminium, set to be enforced on March 23, 2018.
BIMCO are of the position that the new tariffs will have a limited impacted on most international bulk trades, but could spark off bigger negative impacts to the global shipping market – including container shipping.
BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand comments: “Free trade provides prosperity and peace. It’s a fundamental principle to cherish and safeguard.
All trade-restrictive measures are in principle bad for shipping.
Open economies are all better off from trading, as they make use of their resources in the most optimal way.
The result of a trade war is more expensive goods of lower quality and little variety. This goes for all products and commodities.”
Sand has also commented that potential major trade action against China from the US is also set to damage global trade.
In a trade war, the statement says, two sides can retaliate against one another, setting aside normal business practices and procedures.
This could mean that, in response to the US steel and aluminium tariffs, other major trading partners such as the EU, Japan and China may set their own import barriers – fostering an international atmosphere that that could threat the global economy.
Sand concluded: “Overall we are seeing more trade-restrictive measures introduced. Some more high profile than others.
This is a worrying trend that limits demand for shipping globally.
Even worse for shipping could be short-sighted political positions that may have lasting consequences for everyone involved in global industries like shipping if a largescale trade war emerges.”