What a Trade War With China Looks Like on the Front Lines哪些行业会在中美贸易战中受到冲击？ 时间:2018-06-30 单词数:11710
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For Malaysian factories that make light-emitting diodes, it is an opportunity. For American makers of outboard boat motors, it is a threat. For the biggest sellers of flat-screen televisions, it is a nuisance.
The emerging trade war between the United States and China has prompted predictions of severe economic and geopolitical disruption. But for any given industry, the impact of tariffs depends on the microeconomics of its products: How much does demand change when its prices rise? Are substitutes readily available? How much extra productive capacity is there around the world, and how long would it take to get new manufacturing facilities up and running?
The United States imposed its first wave of tariffs over the spring, and each of the 1,102 goods that may be affected will end up with its own list of winners and losers. To see how this may unfold, it’s helpful to examine the different trade patterns for those goods, along with some of the thousands of comment letters that companies and industry groups have submitted to the U.S. Trade Representative. And executives and other experts have their own sense of exactly how supply chains might be rerouted and prices might swing for particular goods.
The lesson that emerges: Be skeptical of predictions of radical disruption to major industries in the near term. For now, companies have options to avoid some of the most severe risks.
But the longer the trade dispute lasts, the more products will get pulled into it. And the more the United States finds itself at odds not just with one other major economy but the entire world, the more it makes sense to worry. The workarounds that companies are using so far wouldn’t succeed in an open-ended, indefinite trade war.
In LEDs, a Gap Other Countries Can Fill
China has the world’s second-largest economy and is a major supplier of many of the products lining store shelves in the United States. The Trump administration’s first round of tariffs is devised to focus on goods for which there are many other suppliers.
In Malaysia, the LED industry senses opportunity.
“The trade war, I would say it will benefit us if it really keeps going in the direction of tariffs,” said Daniel Fong, senior regional manager of Oversea Lighting and Electric, located 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. “The U.S. market is cutting off all ties to China, and in that sense we have a bigger opportunity to benefit the U.S. market with Malaysia-made products.”
“我可以说，这场贸易战如果继续往关税方向发展，我们就能从中得益，”距离吉隆坡40分钟车程的海外照明和电力公司(Oversea Lighting and Electric)高级区域经理丹尼尔.方(Daniel Fong)说。“美国市场正在切断与中国的所有联系，从这个意义上说，我们有更大的机会让马来西亚制造的产品在美国市场获益。”
If tariffs make Chinese exporters less competitive, the balance may shift. John See, chief executive of QAV Technologies, said his company’s two LED factories in Penang could quickly increase production by 300 to 400 percent, if demand were there. Malaysia, he suggested, might no longer have to play “second fiddle” to China in business with the United States.
如果关税使中国的出口商竞争力下降，这样的平衡可能会发生变化。QAV科技(QAV Technologies)的首席执行官约翰.西(John See)表示，若有需求，他的公司在槟城的两个LED工厂可以迅速增产300%至400%。他认为，马来西亚或许不需在对美贸易中再扮演中国的“二把手”。
A Looming Threat for Boat Makers
But other Chinese products covered by tariffs aren’t so easy for their importers to substitute.
Ray Electric Outboards in Cape Coral, Fla., imports its powerheads — the electric motors that turn the propeller for a small boat — from China. Shifting to a different supplier is no small matter.
位于佛罗里达州开普科勒尔的雷伊舷外电动发动机公司(Ray Electric Outboards)的潜水泵——使小型船只螺旋桨转动的电机——便是从中国进口。更换至不同供应商非同小可。
“Have I tried different companies to get a different motor?” said Joy Hurley, business manager at Ray Electric. “Yes, but it’s just not as readily available. There is nothing else that will work in our system.” The company has molds that are already made to fit the company’s current suppliers’ products, and it costs thousands of dollars to change them.
The American boating industry has complained of many elements of the tariffs. Mercury Marine, for example, of Fond du Lac, Wis., said in a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative that it employs 4,800 American workers, but that the manufacture of 40-to-60-horsepower boat engines in Suzhou, China, is crucial to the enterprise.
“It’s very difficult for some of these companies to absorb these costs entirely,” said Nicole Vasilaros, senior vice president at the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Motors are one of 300 frequently used boat parts facing the tariff, she said, which cumulatively could mean a $2,000 price increase on 14- to 16-foot vessels that generally cost in the low five figures.
“有些这样的公司很难彻底吸收这些成本，”船舶制造企业协会(National Marine Manufacturers Association)高级副会长妮科尔.瓦西拉罗斯(Nicole Vasilaros)说。电动发动机是300种面临关税的常用船舶零部件之一，她说，这些零部件累积起来可能意味着14英尺（约合4.3米）到16英尺的船价格上涨2000美元。这种尺寸的船售价通常在一两万美元。
A Display of Flexibility With Flat-Screen TVs
Outboard boat motors and LEDs were both on the list for tariffs the Trump administration released this month. There is also something to learn from a product that wasn’t.
Flat-screen televisions were on an earlier list of products targeted, before being spared after weeks of jockeying. But the supply chain for these devices illuminates the options all types of companies have for navigating around Chinese tariffs, and the ways that a trade war on all fronts carries greater risks for American consumers than one narrowly focused on China.
It will become particularly relevant if the dispute with China escalates and televisions again find themselves targeted — which, in recent days, has appeared more likely than not.
The liquid crystals are made mainly in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. The final assembly is done in many more places; many larger TVs sold in the United States are assembled in Mexico.
That shows the ways that savvy companies — which the giants of the TV business like LG, Sony and Samsung are — can avoid having the Chinese tariffs pinch. Shifting even more of their assembly to Mexico could allow them to avoid the tax even if it is expanded to encompass their products.
Imagine similar efforts across the TV manufacturing industry, and you can see that where the labor-intensive final assembly takes place might shift if Chinese tariffs were implemented, even if the highest-tech parts of televisions stay where they are. The good news is that strategy would spare American consumers a 25 percent tax; the bad news is it wouldn’t do much to punish China and force it to the table to negotiate over broader American complaints.
Moreover, the strategy of moving television assembly from China to Mexico would be a way to avoid any Chinese tariffs only so long as the North American Free Trade Agreement keeps American imports from Mexico tax-free.
此外，只有当《北美自由贸易协定》(North American Free Trade Agreement)让美国可以从墨西哥免税进口产品的时候，将电视机组装从中国转移到墨西哥这一策略才可以令电视制造业避免承受针对中国的关税。
That points to one of the risks of the Trump administration’s strategy of waging trade wars on multiple fronts. When only one country — even a big, important one like China — faces punitive tariffs, companies can find ways to mitigate the damage to their own profits and to consumers.
But if the United States simultaneously raises tariffs on much of the world, corporate strategists have less room to maneuver.
“Companies will try to find ways to reduce the cost of trade barriers,” said Mary Lovely, a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “If you take away all their options, it’s going to be much more detrimental to American corporations and American workers.”
“公司会努力寻找方法降低贸易壁垒的成本，”彼得森国际经济研究所(Peterson Institute for International Economics)的非常驻高级研究员玛丽.洛夫利(Mary Lovely)说，“如果你剥夺了他们所有的选择，那么会对美国公司和美国工人造成更大的伤害。”
In other words, the impact of this first wave of China tariffs, while it will vary across different products for all sorts of reasons, may be manageable. A trade war with much of the world would be a different story entirely.
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