The looming threat of a trade war could halt otherwise strong growth in the exchange of cargo between Asia and the US, experts said Wednesday (March 28, 2018) at the Port of Long Beach’s 14th annual ‘Pulse of the Ports Peak Season Forecast’.
About 500 people gathered at the Long Beach Convention Center for the event, which brings together a panel of shipping and trade experts to offer their perspectives on industry trends and how they affect the San Pedro Bay port complex.
One of the panelists, Drewry Maritime Research Senior Quantitative Economist Mario Moreno, predicted Asia-US trade would grow 6.8% in 2018, the fastest pace in more than half-a-dozen years.
He also estimated the overall US economy would expand 2.8%.
While President Donald Trump and China have proposed higher tariffs, an all-out trade war between China and the United States appears unlikely, according to Moreno.
Moreno said: “Both nations have a lot to lose.
“Consumer prices would certainly go up here in the U.S., and the Chinese government would certainly retaliate by imposing tariffs of their own.”
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US-China trade accounts for more than two-thirds of imports and almost one-third of exports at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Harbor Commission President Lou Anne Bynum commented: “These are challenging but exciting times.
“We believe we’re in a good place for continued growth, but we know that there’s going to be game changers coming our way.
“The purpose of this event is to help us identify, anticipate and answer these challenges.”
Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero, said: “I know of no other gathering like this one in our industry, and we are proud to host it.
“This forum gives us the opportunity to step back and take a look at our industry’s issues from all angles.”