BIMCO: Escalating Tariff War Threatens Trade


The escalating US-China Trade War could affect 22.4 billion tonnes of containerized goods, according to a report BIMCO’s chief shipping analyst Peter Sand.

The trade war has been going on throughout 2018, with the US and China imposing tariffs on each other’s goods worth tens of billions.

US President Donald Trump is currently considering tariffs worth up to $200 billion, after the US Trade Representative (USTR) concluded its public consultation on the matter on September 6.

Trump also raised fears of potential escalation on September 7, when he suggested that a further $267 billion could be imposed on Chinese goods.

Sand believes the trade war is taking on a new dimension, as China can no longer compete with the tariffs the US is imposing on it and could be forced to turn away from tariffs in search of a response.

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He commented: “This trade war is constantly developing, in size as well as shape, with nothing looking like an end game yet.

“The next steps – are likely to see China using new “weapons”. For example, including service sectors or targeting US investments in China. The next steps from the US are set to morph too. The impact on the global shipping industry will depend on the measures taken.

“85.3% of Chinese seaborne imports from the US and 58.5% of US seaborne imports from China could become affected by the trade war, if the US and China implement tariffs on a further USD 200 and USD 60 billion worth of goods respectively.

“The dry bulk shipping industry is the most affected in terms of volumes largely due to the Chinese tariffs, but the whole trade war still impacts only 1.9% of total dry bulk seaborne trade in 2017.

“This is equal to the impact on the container shipping industry which also sees 1.9% of total containerized seaborne trade affected”.

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