America to emerge as big loser in trade war against China: Report

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America to emerge as big loser in trade war against China: Report

NEW YORK - America’s ports are fearful that they will be big losers as the escalating trade fight between Washington and Beijing bites into business.

The anxiety is that tit-for-tat tariffs between the two economic superpowers will crimp shipments, denting port revenues.

Kurt Nagle, head of the American Association of Port Authorities, called the state of play "concerning," following the latest back-and-forth this week between the United States and China.

"The total amount of tariffs and international retaliation affect 10 per cent of the total trade in American ports," or about $160 billion in revenues, Nagle said.

The various trade wars thus far have had a mixed effect, with some ports seeing sharp declines in some products, even as others report a surge in activity intended to beat the new levies.

The mammoth US economy is sustained by about 100 ports around the country that manage the flow of goods inward and outbound at points of embarkation along the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes.

In the first six months of 2018, the port of New Orleans saw a drop of 350,000 tons of steel compared with the year-ago period, a big hit for a flagship product that is used in a petroleum-focused region.

"It represents between three and five million dollars," said Robert Landry, vice president of the Port of New Orleans. "For us it’s very big."

Major sources of the steel include Turkey, China and South Korea. All but South Korea were affected by a 25 per cent tariff on steel imposed by US President Donald Trump this spring.

The New Orleans port also suffered a 10 per cent drop in aluminum imports, which was also included in the same tariff action, while retaliatory Chinese tariffs on poultry have hit those exports. - APP/AFP