fredag 10. april 2020

US-China war of words over the coronavirus crisis may well reignite the trade war

The coronavirus pandemic is reshaping the way the world lives, works and trades. The US-China trade relationship in particular is being disrupted in three distinct but closely intertwined ways: one, trade dependencies are being rethought; two, prospects for re-escalation of trade tensions are mounting; and three, mutual trust is deteriorating.

Long before any of us heard the word “coronavirus”, a series of gradually escalating tariff rounds between the US and China beginning in 2018 created significant disruptions in what was then a roughly US$635 billion trade relationship. Business executives were forced to rethink and in some cases reconfigure supply chains to avoid both the cost of the tariffs and the uncertainty created by the ever-present threat of additional tariffs. Intermediary and finished products, which had been sourced from China, began to increasingly enter the US from Vietnam, Mexico and elsewhere.