US tariffs introduced over the past two
years - and the retaliatory tariffs that ensued - threaten US$186
billion in the nation's economic activity and could result in $31
billion to $35 billion in extra costs to manufacturers and consumers, a
study by the port of Los Angeles has found.
The study, "By the Numbers: Jeopardising
the National Benefits of Trade through America's Busiest Port Complex",
is based on international trade moving through the neighbouring ports
of Los Angeles and Long Beach that are major import and export ports, particularly for the trade with Asia.
"Every urban, suburban and rural community across our nation benefits
from imports and exports moving through the San Pedro Bay ports, and
ongoing tariffs are putting those benefits at risk," said port of Los
Angeles executive director Gene Seroka. "Some regions and industries are
already feeling the pain, and the damage to jobs, income and tax
revenue could be crippling down the road."
The study notes that most of the US import tariffs that have been
imposed or proposed are directed at China, which accounts for the
majority of the imports handled by these two San Pedro Bay ports,
including 57 per cent of containerised imports by value. The share of
import value that may be impacted by tariffs is estimated to be 56.1 per
cent of containerised cargo, 16.7 per cent of non-containerised cargo
and 52.7 per cent of total cargo, reported American Shipper.
Retaliatory tariffs lower the demand for US exports, the study notes,
which leads to foreign consumer markets looking elsewhere for products.
This trend was reflected in the latest cargo volumes at the port of Los
Angeles, which suffered the biggest October volume decline in two
The port's October volumes also marked 12 straight months of declining
US exports, 25 per cent less ship calls, and a 19.1 per cent
year-on-year decrease in volume.
Mr Seroka said the outlook for the fourth quarter is "extremely soft",
with the port forecasting November to be down an additional 10 per cent
from the same period last year, with a weak December in spite of the
looming December 15 deadline on another $160 billion worth of Chinese
Tariffs and the trade wars have hit the US agricultural sector
particularly hard, according to the study, with 26 per cent to 51 per
cent of agricultural exports from all 50 US states hit by tariffs, based
on trade through San Pedro Bay.