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Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

China market

Success in China: Market Opportunities & How to Get Started

Are you an ambitious entrepreneur from the west seeking to expand to China? Or are you interested in opening a new business in China? If yes, this article is for you. We will explain the 5 most viable business openings in China today and the 5 most reliable tips on how to get started in this highly-competitive market. Please be our guest.

Which Viable Market Opportunities Can You Pursue in China?

As the affluent middle class continues to expand in China, solid economic transformations in the country are being realized day by day. The biggest beneficiaries of these transformations are multinational companies who have set up or are planning to open a shop in China. There are now bigger and better market opportunities to pursue, more advanced industries to invest in, and more tech-intensive manufacturing opportunities to consider. As a matter of fact, China now boasts of a 50% bigger manufacturing economy as compared to the USA.

If you are looking to tap into the continued increase in high value-added production, increased globalization of the service sector, as well as the increased outbound investment in China, these 5 market opportunities would be lucrative enough for you:

Healthcare

Rising wealth often comes with an increase in lifestyle diseases. An increase in manufacturing, on the other hand, brings forth many environmental concerns. These two factors have made the healthcare industry very lucrative in China. You will create a reliable cash cow if you could invest in a business that deals with herbal supplements or small health products- or a mainstream pharmaceutical company, so to speak. Also, the use of skincare products is on the rise in China. It’s best to set up a wholly foreign-owned enterprise for such operations.

Import and export trade

China is currently the largest exporter of tech goods and importer of processed foods globally. That means you can build a profitable importing and exporting business here in a heartbeat. 

Supplementary education

Many middle-class Chinese are keen on improving their English and expanding their knowledge of different aspects of business and politics. If you can offer them after-school private tutoring services, you will be making impressive annual returns on a consistent basis. Moreover, online tutorage is on the rise in China, which enables you to tutor more people in a more cost-effective way.

Food production

This goes without saying: Everyone needs food, everyone loves good food. And now that the middle-class in China is welcoming new entrants in huge numbers, there is a significant supply gap within this class for as long as the food is concerned. A rise in class obviously comes with a change in lifestyle, and food is at the center of every lifestyle. 

Mobile phones and accessories

The whole world has in the recent past turned to China for all its tech needs. The nation is the largest producer and importer of affordable mobile phones and accessories, meaning that a business in this industry would be extremely profitable.

What kind of structure to choose when expanding to China

IF you are considering expanding your business to China, establishing the right business structure is crucial. There are several types of business structures:

-Representative Office – allows foreign companies to open their offices in China and hire staff under their own legal entity. However, the offices are not allowed to perform any business, rather it is done by the parent company which is abroad. 

-Sales Office- this business structure enables foreign businesses to rent an office with a Chinese address for conducting business, without the necessity to establish a separate legal entity. All the activities and costs incurred in this office, are paid by the parent company.

-Foreign Invested Partnership- For this business entity, there is no need for minimum capital requirements. Depending on agreements, two or more investors can be joined and form this type of structure. 

-Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise- Through a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, two or more foreign partners can come together and establish the company which has the same liability as domestic companies. Moreover, it provides the owner with autonomous control and ownership. 

How to Get Started In China

As lucrative as China could be, many investors from the west talk about it with fear. Some of these foreign entrants tried and failed, or struggled to find their footing in this Asian economic giant. But what would render you unable to compete and survive here? For starters, the business environment here is too unforgiving and the competition too stiff for the faint-hearted. Also, cases of language barriers, cultural differences, and bureaucratic government regulations have led to the peril of many. 

In the middle of all these, how do you defy the odds and succeed in China? Here are 5 actionable tips on how to get started in China:

Don’t just translate your content for China; ensure that everything about your business is localized for China. 

It is important to understand and comply with all business regulations in China. The hiring process can be tricky to a new entrant, which necessitates the services of a Chinese recruitment agency. Such an agency will help you with all employment laws, privileges, and remuneration. 

Ensure that you understand and respect the cultural differences that exist between the west and the east. 

Never underestimate the power of customer opinion in China. Let the customer tell what their experience with your product is, respect their opinion, learn from your mistakes, and ensure that you find lasting solutions to all their concerns. 

As much as possible, try to work with a local partner in order to benefit from the many favors local entrepreneurs get from the government.

pencils

Pencils: Still Teaching Us Lessons About Trade

Pining for Simpler Times

Pencils remind us of simpler times, when writing was an adventure and erasing life’s mistakes was easy.

In the classic 1958 essay I, Pencil, Leonard Read opened a window for readers into the surprisingly complex global supply chain of something everyone holds in their hand, the pencil. Read helps us realize that countless individuals are involved in logging, mining, processing, transporting, and manufacturing the California cedar, Sri Lankan graphite, Mississippi clay, and foreign and domestic copper, zinc, wax, and coatings combined to produce an elegantly simple pencil.

To Read, a pencil is a miracle. No single individual could make one and no “master mind” directs its production. Pencils are made nonetheless because of the “invisible hand” of free markets. In the decades since Read’s essay, commentators have observed that pencil making is not entirely the result of free-market activity. Governments, too, support pencil production by managing forests, educating workers, and building ports and roads.

The question of where and how pencils are made has resurfaced in the current debate over American trade policy. In a recent campaign video by Senator Elizabeth Warren, she criticizes “giant ‘American’ companies” and their U.S. and foreign shareholders for “hollowing out” American communities. Warren offers as a proof point that “the maker of the famous no. 2 pencil” now largely imports pencils made in China and Mexico.

With pencils in the spotlight, we revisit what can they teach us about the complexity and nuances of modern American trade.

Is Trade Erasing U.S. Manufacturing?

American pencil production has plummeted over the last 25 years. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), the number of U.S. pencil manufacturers fell from 11 in 1993 to four in 2016.

Dixon Ticonderoga — maker of the iconic green-banded yellow pencil — shuttered plants in Ohio and Missouri in the early 2000s, shedding hundreds of jobs. With the end of production by Sanford L.P. in 2014, U.S. production and capacity plunged further — by more than half. During this period, the domestic share of America’s $557 million pencil market declined markedly, while imports from China, Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere more than quadrupled, growing from 6.7 million gross in 1993 to 28.8 million gross in 2016. (A gross is 144 pencils.)

Trade Vistas- Number of US pencil manufacturers

What’s at the Core?

There has been a significant “hollowing out” of American pencil manufacturing. But is the pencil industry representative of U.S. manufacturing and trade generally? The data suggest it’s not.

America has lost five million manufacturing jobs since the mid-1980s. During this period, however, U.S. manufacturing output has doubled. America is making more stuff with fewer workers largely because U.S. factories are more efficient. Studies show that the loss of American manufacturing jobs is due primarily to improved technology, not trade. Economists at Ball State estimate that, overall, 87 percent of U.S. manufacturing job losses between 2000 and 2010 were due to automation, while 13 percent resulted from trade. (Automation was by far the predominant cause of job loss for 15 of the 18 manufacturing sectors studied.)

There are, however, certain largely lower-tech U.S. manufacturing sectors where trade has had a much greater impact. Foremost among these are furniture and apparel (Senator Warren’s video also highlights foreign production of Levi’s jeans) where economists estimate that trade accounted for some 40 percent of job losses. Pencil manufacturing is an example of a “mature” industry where there’s little room for manufacturing innovation but space for makers of high quality products for niche markets. Indeed, for American specialty manufacturers like New Jersey-based General Pencil, the process and equipment used to make pencils has hardly changed from over a century ago.

Can Protection Sharpen U.S. Production?

Policymakers often try to revive trade-impacted low-tech sectors through trade protection. The pencil industry’s experience highlights the difficulties of this approach.

In 1994, the United States imposed antidumping duties on pencils from China, after finding that sales of Chinese imports at “less than fair value” were injuring U.S. manufacturers. Imports of pencils from China fell sharply in 1995. By 1998, however, the volume of “subject imports” from China (six million gross) actually exceeded the volume during the original investigation.

The antidumping duty order was continued in 2000, 2005, 2011, and 2016 after the USITC found that revoking the order would cause further injury to U.S. pencil makers. However, despite duties as high as 114.90 percent imposed on “unfair” imports, subject imports continued to grow to 9.2 million gross in 2004 and 10.5 million gross in 2009, and were 8.5 million gross in 2016.

The pencil industry isn’t the only manufacturing sector where efforts at protection have seemingly failed. Over 97 percent of clothing and footwear sold in America is made overseas, despite the fact that America has, for decades, imposed tariffs on these imports that often exceed 30 percent.

Back to School – With Trade, the Consumer Wins

Is “Big Pencil” to blame for the loss in U.S. manufacturing jobs? Or, are big retailers who seek lower-cost pencils from overseas? While Dixon Ticonderoga isn’t a large company, it’s now owned by a larger Italian firm and imports most of its pencils. And, according to the USITC, there has been increasing consolidation among U.S. wholesale purchasers of pencils. Office Depot and Office Max have merged and big box stores like Target and Walmart are buying larger volumes and seeking low prices.

These retailers are responding to demand for lower-cost imported pencils — in no small part from America’s parents.

Although there has been a resurgence in demand for high-quality, specialty pencils like the Palomino Blackwing and coloring pencils for stressed-out Boomers, most “commodity” pencils are sold during the “back to school” season. In recent years, schools are increasingly requiring parents to buy student supplies like pencils.

School Supplies Costs to US Parents

In 2018, American parents paid an estimated $941 for school supplies and fees for each middle school child. These costs can be a significant burden, especially for low-income parents. Imported pencils — and binders and backpacks — can help moderate these costs. Studies show that middle-income, and especially lower-income Americans, gain significant buying power, stretching their dollars further, from imports.

Pop Quiz

The pencil has a storied history. According to pencils.com, Ancient Roman scribes introduced the use of thin metal rods as a stylus. In the 1800s, the best graphite was sourced from China. Although the first mass-produced pencils were unpainted to show off high-quality wood casings, pencil makers later painted them yellow, a regal color in China, to demonstrate the quality of the graphite within.

The simple pencil continues to both transcribe and itself illustrate complex stories, including the growth and effects of global trade. It can also evoke fond memories like the time mine saved me on a pop history quiz in the 5th grade:

Question 3: Name three Colonial forts.

My answer: Fort Pitt, Fort William Henry, and . . . uh . . .oh yeah! Fort (Dixon) Ticonderoga!

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Ed Gerwin

Ed Gerwin is a lawyer, trade consultant, and President of Trade Guru LLC.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

Global Wine Market 2019 – Spain Retains Leadership in Exports Amid Buoyant Market Growth

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Wine – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The global wine market revenue amounted to $130.3B in 2018, going down by -3.3% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). The market value increased at an average annual rate of +1.4% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2010, when the market value increased by 11% y-o-y. Global wine consumption peaked at $134.7B in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

Production 2007-2018

Global wine production totaled 32B litres in 2018, surging by 2.3% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.4% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being observed in certain years.

Exports 2007-2018

In 2018, the global exports of wine totaled 11B litres, going down by -4.5% against the previous year. The total export volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.1% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained relatively stable, with only minor fluctuations in certain years. In value terms, wine exports amounted to $35.5B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

In 2018, Italy (2B litres), France (1.9B litres) and Spain (1.7B litres) represented the main exporters of wine in the world, achieving 52% of total export. Australia (815M litres) held a 7.7% share (based on tonnes) of total exports, which put it in second place, followed by Chile (6.2%). South Africa (442M litres), Germany (383M litres), the U.S. (351M litres), New Zealand (319M litres), Portugal (303M litres), Argentina (271M litres) and China (244M litres) occupied a relatively small share of total exports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by China, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest wine markets worldwide were France ($11B), Italy ($7.3B) and Spain ($3.2B), with a combined 61% share of global exports. Australia, Chile, the U.S., New Zealand, Germany, Portugal, Argentina, South Africa and China lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 30%.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average wine export price amounted to $3,332 per thousand litres, rising by 7.8% against the previous year. Overall, the wine export price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. There were significant differences in the average export prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest export price was France ($5,740 per thousand litres), while China ($1,464 per thousand litres) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of export prices was attained by the U.S., while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports 2007-2018

In 2018, approx. 9.4B litres of wine were imported worldwide; going down by -20.1% against the previous year. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.2% from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. In value terms, wine imports amounted to $33.7B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

The countries with the highest levels of wine imports in 2018 were the UK (1.3B litres), the U.S. (1.2B litres), Germany (1B litres) and China (681M litres), together amounting to 44% of total import. Canada (409M litres), the Netherlands (382M litres), Belgium (327M litres), China, Hong Kong SAR (300M litres), Japan (290M litres), Russia (278M litres), France (244M litres) and Sweden (209M litres) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by China, Hong Kong SAR, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest wine importing markets worldwide were the U.S. ($5.4B), the UK ($4B) and Germany ($2.7B), together accounting for 36% of global imports. These countries were followed by China, Canada, Japan, China, Hong Kong SAR, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Russia and Sweden, which together accounted for a further 36%.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average wine import price amounted to $3,589 per thousand litres, rising by 18% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the wine import price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. There were significant differences in the average import prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, the country with the highest import price was Japan ($5,777 per thousand litres), while Russia ($2,497 per thousand litres) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of import prices was attained by France, while the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

China

Amid US-China Trade Battle, Here is how America can Remain the World’s Strongest Economy

The Communist Party of China has laid plans for a century of unlimited Chinese power and, with it, the end of the American era. However, we still can — and must — bet big on the future of American economic power. The best antidote to China’s ambitions is to ensure America’s continued economic and technological preeminence.

Far too many strategists, investors, and policymakers accept China’s economic preeminence as an inevitable outcome, given the country’s enormous population and potential for growth.

As the business community looks toward a “partial trade deal” to unwind tariffs and reduce trade hostility between the world’s two largest economies, we must understand that non-negotiable problems in U.S.-China relations will accelerate if China closes the gap with the United States in terms of economic and technological power. With the right strategic mindset and a focus on domestic productivity, America can not only win the economic and technological contest but also turn the tide in the U.S.-China competition for global power.

China’s bid for global power is built on its economic ascendency, which is based on engagement with the United States and our allies. Chinese companies are capturing global markets and climbing the ranks of the Fortune Global 500 by taking advantage of stolen or coerced foreign intellectual property and state-orchestrated market distortions. The Communist Party is converting China’s technological power into a dystopian surveillance state and a military that is focusing its capabilities on the United States and our partners.

Chairman Xi Jinping calls regularly for Chinese forces to “prepare to fight and win wars,” while converting civilian industrial technology into military power through “civil-military fusion.” Meanwhile, China’s current account surplus is employed for global influence, buying “strategic partners” with intercontinental projects like the “Belt and Road Initiative” and state-backed acquisitions of foreign firms.

U.S.-China competition is likely to be the hardest geopolitical contest in generations — but it is a contest that the United States can win if we focus on the right objectives.

The People’s Republic of China is a challenge to America’s values and concept of world order. U.S.-China competition is likely to be the hardest geopolitical contest in generations — but it is a contest that the United States can win if we focus on the right objectives. So, where do we go from here?

Focus on GDP

The first step must be a focus on accelerating U.S. productivity growth. U.S. productivity growth need only increase from 1.3 percent a year to 2.5 percent for U.S. GDP to remain ahead of China’s for the entirety of the 2020s, the decade in which many expect China’s economy to surpass America’s.

By 2030, economic leadership will be easier to maintain as China’s demographic problems set in. Such a productivity increase is realistic, given that productivity growth from 1995 to 2008 was higher than 2.5 percent.

Protect America’s edge

The second step is to preserve our edge in advanced and emerging technologies. America must remain ahead of Communist China, not only in hard sciences, but also in the actual production of advanced goods and services.

If America competes against China only through soybean and oil production, we will fail to counter China in advanced industries such as robotics, semiconductors, aerospace and biopharmaceuticals. China is gaining in these and other technologies and industries and could eventually have a decisive advantage over the United States.

As Alexander Hamilton warned 200 years ago, America can’t be great if it is a “hewer of wood and drawer of water.” We must out-invent and outproduce China in advanced technology and industrial goods.

Maintaining U.S. advantage will require collaboration between government and corporations towards national goals in science, engineering and industry. This approach has long served our nation in times of international struggle and led to lasting commercial and national security breakthroughs.

New and Big

In order to attain these goals, Washington must think new and big. New in the sense of a bipartisan consensus that productivity growth and technological competitiveness must be national priorities.

Big in the sense of big and bold proposals. Here are three: First, implement a robust research, development and investment tax credit that will stimulate innovation and investment on American soil. Second, establish a series of well-funded “moonshot” goals to ensure American leadership in emerging industries such as advanced robotics and quantum computing. Third, develop a national productivity strategy that will take the best ideas of government and industry and focus on building the next $10 trillion in annual U.S. GDP by 2030.

Half a century ago, under the leadership of President John F. Kennedy, America faced a Communist superpower that believed that it would “bury” the United States, much as Chinese Communist leaders today believe that the 21st century belongs to China. Kennedy reminded us then that America would “bear any burden” and “meet any hardship” to prevail in that consequential time.

In the end, it was the power of the American economy, the power of American technology, and the power of American industry that brought victory over our ambitious foe. We must unleash these forces once again, wrestle them into national service, and build on toward the greater good — an American era that can and must prevail.

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Dr. Jonathan D.T. Ward is the author of “China’s Vision of Victory” and founder of Atlas Organization, a strategy consultancy on US-China global competition. Follow him on Twitter @jonathandtward

Dr. Robert D. Atkinson is the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the author of “Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Mythology of Small Business.” Follow him on Twitter @robatkinsonITIF..

This article originally appeared on FoxBusiness.com. Republished with permission. 

phase one

The Phase One Deal: How We Got Here And What Is Next

President Trump announced that the United States and China had reached a partial “Phase One” trade deal in mid-October, signaling a pause in the trade tensions that have steadily grown over the past two and half years.  While the precise goals of the President’s trade action against China have always been vague, there was an unquestionable desire to change certain structural issues of the Chinese economy, particularly with the country’s intellectual property and forced technology practices.  

To put the proposed Phase One deal in its proper context, this article breaks down (1) the various stages of escalation since President Trump took office, (2) what’s known about the contents of agreement, and (3) the potential risks that could derail the deal from being signed.  

The Escalation of the Trade War

The President’s most high-profile actions against China have been his use of long-thought-defunct trade authority, Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 (“Section 301”).  Section 301 grants the President the authority to impose tariffs on countries if it determines that the acts, policies, or practices of a country are unjustifiable and burden or restrict U.S. commerce.  

Following a lengthy investigation, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) officially determined in March 2018 that China’s policies result in harm to the U.S. economy.  Simultaneously, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum outlining a series of remedies that his Administration would take in response to these findings, most notably the imposition of tariffs.  

President Trump’s Section 301 tariffs currently cover most products imported from China, after having been rolled out in four different lists:  

-List 1 of the Section 301 tariffs went into effect July 2018 and imposes a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of goods from China.  

-List 2 went into effect August 2018 and imposes a 25 percent tariff on $16 billion worth of goods.  

-Following China’s retaliatory tariffs on Lists 1 and 2, the United States announced List 3, which began imposing a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese products in September 2018.  The List 3 tariffs were increased to 25 percent after negotiations between the two countries fell apart.

-List 4 could hit almost $300 billion more of Chinese products.  Part of the list (“List 4a”) went into effect on September 1 and imposes 15 percent tariffs on $112 billion of Chinese products.  The U.S. is scheduled to impose 15 percent tariffs on the remaining $160 billion of the list (“List 4b”) starting December 15.  

The Trump Administration has taken aggressive action to increase pressure on China that goes well beyond the Section 301 tariffs.  Since President Trump took office, he has targeted China’s steel and aluminum industries through global tariffs on these products. He has (at least temporarily) sanctioned major Chinese tech firms or restricted their ability to do business with the United States.  He has sanctioned Chinese individuals and entities connected to North Korea and others related to the treatment of the Uighurs in western China. He signed into law a major expansion of authority for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”), which has immediate and future implications for Chinese investment in the United States. 

Additionally, the Administration has moved closer to Taiwan. President Trump has authorized significant military sales to Taiwan, and as President-elect, he took a call from Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen, the first such call by a U.S. President or President-elect since the 1970s. The Administration has either directly or indirectly made clear that these restrictions, sanctions, and geopolitical relationships can be used as points of leverage in the trade negotiations.  

The Phase One Deal

Many details about what is included in the Phase One deal remain unknown.  In announcing the deal, President Trump said “We have a great deal. We’re papering it now.  Over the next three or four or five weeks, hopefully, it’ll get finished. A tremendous benefit to our farmers, technology, and many other things — the banking industry, financial services.”  As the two sides “paper” the agreement into finalized text, what is known about the deal has come largely from statements made by both sides. We know that as part of the deal, the United States will not pursue plans to increase the List 1-3 tariffs from 25 percent to 30 percent. We also know China plans to make large purchases of U.S. agricultural products.  

There are reports the Phase One deal could also delay or cancel the planned List 4b tariffs. Other reports suggest that China is seeking additional eliminations or reductions of the Section 301 tariffs.  

As for the structural changes to the Chinese economy sought by the Trump Administration, it seems as though they could be mentioned in the Phase One deal, but the real work will be addressed in subsequent phases.  

What Comes Next

The stars were aligning for President Trump and President Xi to sign the Phase One deal at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) meetings in Santiago, Chile this week.  Unfortunately, the APEC meetings were unexpectedly cancelled due to protests in the country, highlighting that a few weeks can feel like an eternity for sensitive trade talks.  

Assuming the U.S. and China can find another location, there are still risks out there that could prevent the deal’s signing.  

One big risk to the deal is the events unfolding in Hong Kong. The Trump Administration has been notably quiet on the protests, outside of President Trump expressing his faith in President Xi to satisfactorily resolve the situation.  The strongest statement from the Administration came from Vice President Pence, who recently said, “[T]he United States will continue to urge China to show restraint, to honor its commitments, and respect the people of Hong Kong.  And to the millions in Hong Kong who have been peacefully demonstrating to protect your rights these past months, we stand with you.”

According to multiple reports, President Trump pledged to Chinese President Xi Jinping that his Administration would remain quiet on the Hong Kong protests throughout the trade talks.  However, the Administration’s hand could be forced if the protests escalate into more sustained violence or if, as is expected, Congress passes legislation in support of Hong Kong with veto-proof majorities.  

Another risk is more vocal opposition from so-called “China hawks” that are dissatisfied that Phase One doesn’t get to the heart of the problems they have with China’s economic practices.  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cautioned the President that he “shouldn’t be giving in to China unless we get something big in return.” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) doubted China’s commitment to the deal long-term, saying, “I do believe that [China] will agree to things they don’t intend to comply with.” There are reports that China hawks within the White House are also pushing the President to reject the deal, notably Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro.  

A deal to end or pause the trade tensions between the United States and China would provide the private sector with more certainty as they make decisions about 2020 and beyond.  The Phase One deal looks to provide at least a pause, but geopolitical actions or domestic opposition could still derail the agreement before it is signed.   

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Rory Murphy is an Associate at Squire Patton Boggs, where his practice focuses on providing US public policy guidance, global cultural and business diplomacy advice that helps US and foreign governments and entities with doing business around the globe.

packaging

China’s Packaging Materials Market Is Slowing Down Due to Weak Demand

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘China – Packaging Materials – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the packaging materials market in China amounted to $69B in 2018, going down by -6.1% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). Over the period under review, the total market indicated buoyant growth from 2008 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +2.5% over the last decade. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period.

Based on 2018 figures, packaging materials consumption increased by +17.4% against 2016 indices. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2017 when the market value increased by 25% year-to-year. In that year, the packaging materials market reached its peak level of $73.5B, and then declined slightly in the following year.

Production in China

Packaging materials production in China totaled 63M tonnes in 2018, waning by -8.3% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.9% over the period from 2008 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded over the period under review. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2009 with an increase of 9.3% against the previous year. Over the period under review, packaging materials production attained its maximum volume at 69M tonnes in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, packaging materials production stood at $73.1B in 2018 estimated in export prices. In general, the total output indicated a buoyant increase from 2008 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +2.9% over the last decade. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, packaging materials production increased by +24.2% against 2016 indices. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2017 when production volume increased by 32% year-to-year. In that year, packaging materials production reached its peak level of $77.5B, and then declined slightly in the following year.

Exports from China

In 2018, the exports of packaging materials from China stood at 2.9M tonnes, going up by 4.7% against the previous year. Overall, packaging materials exports continue to indicate a buoyant expansion. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2014 with an increase of 33% year-to-year. Over the period under review, packaging materials exports attained their maximum at 2.9M tonnes in 2016; however, from 2017 to 2018, exports remained at a lower figure.

In value terms, packaging materials exports stood at $3.1B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Overall, packaging materials exports continue to indicate a buoyant increase. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2014 with an increase of 36% y-o-y. Exports peaked in 2018 and are likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

Exports by Country

Viet Nam (183K tonnes), Iran (136K tonnes) and Bangladesh (127K tonnes) were the main destinations of packaging materials exports from China, together accounting for 16% of total exports.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main countries of destination, was attained by Bangladesh, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Viet Nam ($223M), the U.S. ($158M) and Iran ($118M) appeared to be the largest markets for packaging materials exported from China worldwide, together accounting for 16% of total exports.

Among the main countries of destination, Viet Nam experienced the highest growth rate of exports, over the last decade, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average packaging materials export price amounted to $1,073 per tonne, surging by 4.2% against the previous year. Over the period from 2008 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +1.9%. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2011 when the average export price increased by 11% against the previous year. The export price peaked at $1,145 per tonne in 2012; however, from 2013 to 2018, export prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices for the major foreign markets. In 2018, the country with the highest price was India ($1,471 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Bangladesh ($788 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to India, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports into China

Packaging materials imports into China totaled 2.3M tonnes in 2018, picking up by 3.4% against the previous year. Over the period under review, packaging materials imports continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2017 when imports increased by 13% against the previous year. Over the period under review, packaging materials imports reached their peak figure in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the immediate term.

In value terms, packaging materials imports amounted to $2.2B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. The total import value increased at an average annual rate of +1.6% from 2008 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with somewhat noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011 when imports increased by 15% y-o-y. In that year, packaging materials imports attained their peak of $2.3B. From 2012 to 2018, the growth of packaging materials imports remained at a lower figure.

Imports by Country

The U.S. (422K tonnes), Sweden (309K tonnes) and Taiwan, Chinese (168K tonnes) were the main suppliers of packaging materials imports to China, together comprising 39% of total imports. These countries were followed by Indonesia, Russia, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Finland, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand, which together accounted for a further 37%.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main suppliers, was attained by Canada, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest packaging materials suppliers to China were the U.S. ($390M), Sweden ($293M) and Japan ($146M), together accounting for 37% of total imports. Taiwan, Chinese, Russia, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil, Finland, South Korea, Canada and New Zealand lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 33%.

In terms of the main suppliers, Canada experienced the highest rates of growth with regard to imports, over the last decade, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

The average packaging materials import price stood at $982 per tonne in 2018, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. Over the last decade, it increased at an average annual rate of +1.1%. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2010 an increase of 15% year-to-year. The import price peaked at $1,120 per tonne in 2014; however, from 2015 to 2018, import prices stood at a somewhat lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Japan ($1,286 per tonne), while the price for Indonesia ($630 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Australia, while the prices for the other major suppliers experieznced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

gauze

Slovakia, China and Algeria are the Main Suppliers of Gauze to the UK

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘United Kingdom – Gauze (Excluding Medical Gauze) – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the gauze market in the UK amounted to $2.9M in 2018, increasing by 5.5% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). In general, gauze consumption continues to indicate a buoyant increase.

Production in the UK

In 2018, the gauze production in the UK stood at 316K square meters. Overall, gauze production continues to indicate a noticeable downturn. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010 when production volume increased by 45% against the previous year. Over the period under review, gauze production reached its peak figure volume at 596K square meters in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, production failed to regain its momentum.

In value terms, gauze production stood at $2.5M in 2018. In general, the total output indicated a remarkable increase from 2008 to 2018: its value decreased at an average annual rate of -3.7% over the last decade. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, gauze production increased by +138.4% against 2009 indices. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2010 with an increase of 44% against the previous year. Gauze production peaked in 2018 and is likely to continue its growth in the immediate term.

Exports from the UK

In 2018, the gauze exports from the UK totaled 30K square meters, remaining relatively unchanged against the previous year. In general, gauze exports continue to indicate a mild contraction. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2009 when exports increased by 372% against the previous year. Over the period under review, gauze exports attained their peak figure at 170K square meters in 2010; however, from 2011 to 2018, exports failed to regain their momentum.

In value terms, gauze exports amounted to $660K (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Overall, gauze exports continue to indicate a drastic downturn. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2012 when exports increased by 79% against the previous year. Exports peaked at $2.5M in 2010; however, from 2011 to 2018, exports remained at a lower figure.

Exports by Country

Slovakia (11K square meters), the U.S. (10K square meters) and Sweden (1.8K square meters) were the main destinations of gauze exports from the UK, with a combined 76% share of total exports. These countries were followed by Ireland, Nigeria, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, which together accounted for a further 11%.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main countries of destination, was attained by Nigeria, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest markets for gauze exported from the UK were Slovakia ($216K), the U.S. ($206K) and Ireland ($13K), together comprising 66% of total exports.

The U.S. recorded the highest growth rate of exports, among the main countries of destination over the last decade, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

The average gauze export price stood at $22 per square meter in 2018, jumping by 66% against the previous year. Overall, the gauze export price, however, continues to indicate a noticeable deduction. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2014 when the average export price increased by 192% year-to-year. In that year, the average export prices for gauze (excluding medical gauze) reached their peak level of $46 per square meter. From 2015 to 2018, the growth in terms of the average export prices for gauze (excluding medical gauze) remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Slovakia ($20 per square meter), while the average price for exports to Nigeria ($1.5 per square meter) was amongst the lowest.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to Canada, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced mixed trend patterns.

Imports into the UK

In 2018, the imports of gauze (excluding medical gauze) into the UK totaled 130K square meters, going down by -2.6% against the previous year. In general, gauze imports, however, continue to indicate a prominent expansion. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2010 with an increase of 814% against the previous year. Imports peaked at 133K square meters in 2017, and then declined slightly in the following year.

In value terms, gauze imports totaled $1.3M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Overall, the total imports indicated a pronounced increase from 2008 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +9.9% over the last decade. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, gauze imports increased by +122.7% against 2012 indices. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2013 when imports increased by 39% y-o-y. Imports peaked in 2018 and are likely to see steady growth in the near future.

Imports by Country

Slovakia (55K square meters), China (36K square meters) and Algeria (25K square meters) were the main suppliers of gauze imports to the UK, with a combined 89% share of total imports.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main suppliers, was attained by China, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Slovakia ($1M) constituted the largest supplier of gauze to the UK, comprising 75% of total gauze imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by China ($142K), with a 11% share of total imports. It was followed by Algeria, with a 4.2% share.

From 2008 to 2018, the average annual rate of growth in terms of value from Slovakia was relatively modest. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: China (+36.5% per year) and Algeria (+37.7% per year).

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average gauze import price amounted to $10 per square meter, picking up by 7.2% against the previous year. In general, the gauze import price, however, continues to indicate an abrupt reduction. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2009 an increase of 421% year-to-year. In that year, the average import prices for gauze (excluding medical gauze) attained their peak level of $101 per square meter. From 2010 to 2018, the growth in terms of the average import prices for gauze (excluding medical gauze) failed to regain its momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Slovakia ($18 per square meter), while the price for Algeria ($2.3 per square meter) was amongst the lowest.

From 2008 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Algeria, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced a decline.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

soybean

Soybean Prices are a Proxy for How the Trade War is Going

Soybeans are in your cereal, candles, crayons and car seats

Soybeans have more far uses than most of us realize. After harvesting, soybeans are dehulled and rolled into flakes as its oil is extracted. Soybean oil has become an ingredient ubiquitous in dressings, cooking oils and many foods, but is also sold for biodiesel production and other industrial uses.

Soy flours feature prominently in commercial baking. Soy hulls are part of fiber bran cereals, breads and snacks. Soybeans are even part of building materials, replacing wood in furniture, flooring and countertops. They are in carpets, auto upholstery and paints. Soybean candles are popular because they burn longer with less smoke. Soy crayons are non-toxic for children. And – because soybeans are high in protein – they are a major ingredient in livestock feed, which provides much of the impetus for globally traded soybeans.

Bean counting

Given this panoply of applications, it should be no surprise that global demand for soybeans is growing, but it’s mostly animal mouths we are feeding. Demand for soybean meal for livestock feed drives two-thirds of the export value of traded soybeans.

According to the Agricultural Market Information System, three countries produce 80 percent of the world’s soybeans to fill this demand: the United States, Brazil and Argentina.

At 123.7 million metric tons produced in 2018, U.S. farmers accounted for 34 percent of world production. Brazil’s farmers yielded 117 million metric tons, accounting for 32 percent of world production, but Brazil exported larger volumes than the United States.

Rounding out the top three, Argentina accounts for 15 percent of world production but exported just 6.3 million metric tons in 2018. China is fourth, producing 15.9 million metric tons in 2018 – just four percent of world production.

America’s second largest crop

Grown on more than 303,000 farms across the United States, soybeans are the second largest cash crop for American farmers. Conventional soybeans are grown in 45 U.S. states while high oleic soybeans are grown in 10 states. Though output varies each year, at 4.54 billion bushels in 2018, U.S. growers are so productive they can now yield twice as many bushels of soybeans as two decades ago. (At SoyConnection.com, you can click on this map to see the number of farms, acres, and bushels produced in each state.)

Three countries produce 80 percent of the world's soybean

China’s insatiable appetite

China cannot get enough soybeans. When China entered the WTO in 2001, the country was already consuming 15 percent of the world’s soybeans, driving 19 percent of global trade in soybeans. By 2018, China’s appetite had grown 815 percent according to the U.S. Farm Bureau, which says China’s demand now supports 62 percent of world trade in soybeans.

According to the Farm Bureau’s calculations, China consumes one-third of every acre harvested in the world – an amount equivalent to or more than total U.S. soybean acreage. Around 60 percent of U.S. yields were sold to China in 2017, which means there was a lot at risk for U.S. farmers caught in the crosshairs of the trade war that unfolded in 2018.

A pawn in the trade war

In July 2018, the United States fired the first tariff shot in its efforts to seek redress for the intellectual property theft cited in its Section 301 investigation into China’s practices, by imposing tariffs on $34 billion worth of China’s imports. China responded with 25 percent tariffs on an equivalent amount, including on soybeans from the United States. The tariff has remained in place as leverage in the trade war – a proxy for whether China perceives progress is being made or not in the negotiations.

In intermittent gestures of goodwill, China agrees to make purchases but has often not fulfilled orders for the promised amounts. When President Trump angrily tweeted on August 23 this year that China was not negotiating in good faith and that U.S. tariffs would cover more imports from China, China responded in part by adding five percent to its tariffs on soybeans.

A factor in price fluctuations

The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri recently offered a gloomy forecast for lower prices for soybeans: $8.43 per bushel for 2019-20, dropping further to $7.94 per bushel for the 2020-21 marketing years. They say lower prices are resulting from a combination of adverse weather, African swine fever disease that is decimating herd inventories throughout Asia and therefore weakening demand for feed – and the ongoing trade dispute.

On May 13 this year, coincident with some fiery presidential tweets expressing frustration with China, soybean prices reached a 10-year low. USDA estimates that, at 4.54 billion bushels produced last year, a drop in average price per bushel from $9.33 in 2017 to $8.60 in 2018 translates to losses for U.S. soybean farmers of $3.3 billion.

Soybean Prices react to China trade war

Bait and switching

Adding to the strain of lower prices, China has drastically pared back its soybean orders from the United States. In 2016, the United States shipped 36.1 million metric tons of soybeans to China. In 2018, sales dropped to just 8.2 million metric tons.

The Chinese government is able to avoid its own tariffs by directly purchasing U.S. soybeans which it then sells to private users in China. The government has also granted tariff exemptions to Chinese soybean crushers. Just this week, the government granted an exemption to state-owned, private and international companies to import 10 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans tariff-free. Overall, the quantities purchased through these mechanisms is not nearly enough to make up for the vast shortfall in supply from the United States.

So, China is buying more from Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Canada and in particular from Brazil, which has moved in to supply 75 percent of China’s total imports. For U.S. soybean exporters, lower prices per bushel have attracted new buyers from Europe, Mexico and elsewhere, but those sales are not enough to replace lost sales in China.

Plummeting U.S. Soybean Exports to China

Homegrown

China is hedging its bets by rejiggering the incentives it provides to its own farmers. Upon releasing a new white paper, the head of the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said that even though China’s food production and reserves are strong, “We must hold the rice bowl firmly in our hands, and fill it with even more Chinese food.”

In addition to directly investing in agricultural infrastructure in Brazil, neighboring Russia, and other suppliers, the Chinese government has set a goal to increase domestic soybean production in five years from 16 million to 24 million metric tons, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

News China reported in January that Chinese farmers in Heilongjiang, China’s main grain producing province, are being provided incentives to switch from wheat and corn to planting more soybeans. For years, the Chinese government has offered price supports for corn. Under new policies, crop rotation can earn Chinese farmers $322 per hectare in subsidies in addition to subsidies of between $373 and $430 per hectare offered by provincial authorities.

The Ministry of Science and Technology is also supporting trials of hybrid soybean seeds that are more weather-resistant and could more than triple the average yield for soybeans grown in China.

China's Soybean Journey

Long term disruptions

It’s possible the United States and China will ink a partial deal in the coming weeks that provides relief for American soybean farmers.

The American Soybean Association says it is “hopeful this ‘Phase 1’ agreement will signal a de-escalation in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war… rescinding the tariffs and helping restore certainty and stability to the soy industry.”

China has reportedly promised to purchase $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural goods, which would be scaled up annually. That would be double the $24 billion China spent on American farm goods in 2017.

When seeds are in the ground, the acreage is committed, but as American farmers wait and watch the trade war, they are surely thinking about how to plant around these disruptions in outer growing years.

Over the last year, some reliable overseas customers are buying up stocks of U.S. soybeans that would otherwise have gone to China and some new customer relationships are being forged in emerging markets such as Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Southeast Asia.

When the tariffs are permanently removed, it will remain to be seen whether trading patterns will also have permanently shifted.

__________________________________________________________________

Andrea Durkin is the Editor-in-Chief of TradeVistas and Founder of Sparkplug, LLC. Ms. Durkin previously served as a U.S. Government trade negotiator and has proudly taught international trade policy and negotiations for the last fourteen years as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service program.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

Japan

Japan Mini-Deal A Victory for U.S. Agriculture?

Many American farmers and ranchers breathed a sigh of relief when the United States and Japan formally signed a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement in September. Billed as the first phase of a more comprehensive trade deal, the Agreement establishes standards to promote digital trade and provides Japanese exporters with improved market access for certain industrial products. In return, Japan agreed to slash tariffs on a wide range of food and agriculture exports – a key outcome for the U.S. agriculture community.

For U.S. agriculture producers struggling with a weak farm economy and uncertainty in global markets, implementation of the Agreement cannot come soon enough. Japan consistently ranks as one of the top export markets for agriculture and food, soaking up over $14.5 billion worth of goods in 2018. But farm groups have been ringing alarm bells ever since the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would have provided them access to the Japanese market sooner.

Japan top market for U.S. beef

U.S. competitors get a head start

Walking away from the TPP meant that U.S. producers were not eligible to enjoy the tariff cuts Japan adopted under that agreement. Instead, the benefits of improved market access flowed to key U.S. competitors, including from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as those countries remained under the TPP framework. On top of that, the European Union (EU) landed its own trade deal with Japan that provided European farmers and ranchers with favorable export terms. Taken together, these various agreements put the United States at a serious disadvantage. While Japanese tariffs on foreign agricultural products continued to fall, the United States was stuck paying higher tariff rates, raising the overall cost of U.S. exports relative to competitors.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture captured this dynamic in a report it released late last year on beef exports to Japan. Without a trade agreement, U.S. beef exporters were forced to pay the “Most Favored Nation (MFN)” applied tariff rate of 38.5 percent. Not only were the tariffs paid by European beef exporters (“JAEPA” in the chart below) and by members of the TPP (“CPTPP” in the chart) considerably lower, the tariffs are scheduled to continue dropping over the next 15 years. The widening gap would render U.S. products even less attractive with each passing year.

Japan tariff reduction schedule for beef chart

U.S. strikes a “mini-deal” to catch up

Recognizing the dangers for beef and other U.S. agricultural commodities facing a similar future, the Trump Administration moved to strike a partial free trade agreement with Japan that would level the playing field for U.S. products. Stage one of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement mostly achieves that goal by lowering the tariff rates Japan applies to over 90 percent of U.S. agricultural goods, seeking to match Japan’s commitments under TPP.

However, U.S. agricultural producers are not completely out of the woods. That is because the TPP – like most modern trade agreements – included more than just tariff reductions. It also covered a broad range of regulations impacting agricultural trade including customs procedures and product safety approvals. The United States and Japan did not address these so-called “technical barriers to trade” in the first phase of their bilateral agreement.

Awaiting “stage two”

Both U.S. President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have committed to working towards a more comprehensive agreement. The Administration’s U.S.-Japan bilateral negotiating objectives outline goals for every sector of the economy. That should give hope to U.S. agriculture groups, especially rice growers and dairy producers who are still seeking improved market access to Japan. U.S. industrial goods manufacturers, many of whom are eyeing the Japanese market, will be just as eager to see a comprehensive deal in the near future.

U.S. agricultural products left out of Japan mini-deal

The obvious risk is that a comprehensive deal never materializes. The annals of history (and recent memories) are filled with examples of derailed international negotiations. A pending U.S. decision on whether to impose tariffs on Japanese automobiles and parts, for example, could easily send the trade winds blowing in another direction. In addition to disappointing U.S. business groups, failure to land a full agreement could run afoul of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, which plainly state that trade agreements must cover “substantially all trade.”

Nonetheless, after the year farmers have had, the initial U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement is still a deal worth celebrating.

________________________________________________________________

 

Max Moncaster is an Associate Director at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, where he focuses on trade and natural resource issues. He has served in trade policy and advocacy roles for public and private sector organizations since 2014.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

 

leather

Italy’s Exports of Composition Leather Declined for the Fourth Consecutive Year

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘Italy – Composition Leather – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the composition leather market in Italy amounted to $17M in 2018, reducing by -2.8% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). Overall, composition leather consumption continues to indicate a deep drop.

Production in Italy

In 2018, approx. 9.8K tonnes of composition leather were produced in Italy; reducing by -5.9% against the previous year. In general, composition leather production continues to indicate an abrupt setback. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2011 when production volume increased by 3.4% year-to-year. Over the period under review, composition leather production attained its peak figure volume at 16K tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, production remained at a lower figure.

In value terms, composition leather production totaled $11M in 2018 estimated in export prices. Overall, composition leather production continues to indicate a deep reduction. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2011 with an increase of 99% against the previous year. In that year, composition leather production reached its peak level of $96M. From 2012 to 2018, composition leather production growth remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Exports from Italy

In 2018, the exports of composition leather from Italy totaled 6.9K tonnes, falling by -7.2% against the previous year. Over the period under review, composition leather exports continue to indicate a measured decline. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2010 with an increase of 43% y-o-y. Exports peaked at 10K tonnes in 2011; however, from 2012 to 2018, exports stood at a somewhat lower figure.

In value terms, composition leather exports totaled $21M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. In general, composition leather exports continue to indicate a perceptible descent. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011 when exports increased by 31% year-to-year. In that year, composition leather exports reached their peak of $34M. From 2012 to 2018, the growth of composition leather exports remained at a somewhat lower figure.

Exports by Country

China, Hong Kong SAR (1.6K tonnes) was the main destination for composition leather exports from Italy, accounting for a 23% share of total exports. Moreover, composition leather exports to China, Hong Kong SAR exceeded the volume sent to the second major destination, China (673 tonnes), twofold. Portugal (500 tonnes) ranked third in terms of total exports with a 7.2% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume to China, Hong Kong SAR amounted to -2.4%. Exports to the other major destinations recorded the following average annual rates of exports growth: China (+4.2% per year) and Portugal (+1.9% per year).

In value terms, Cambodia ($3.6M), China ($2.4M) and China, Hong Kong SAR ($2.4M) appeared to be the largest markets for composition leather exported from Italy worldwide, together comprising 41% of total exports.

Cambodia experienced the highest rates of growth with regard to exports, among the main countries of destination over the last eleven-year period, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

The average composition leather export price stood at $2,972 per tonne in 2018, rising by 3.8% against the previous year. Overall, the composition leather export price, however, continues to indicate a slight decline. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2008 when the average export price increased by 11% against the previous year. In that year, the average export prices for composition leather attained their peak level of $3,767 per tonne. From 2009 to 2018, the growth in terms of the average export prices for composition leather failed to regain its momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was Cambodia ($12,765 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Poland ($885 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was recorded for supplies to Cambodia, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports into Italy

Composition leather imports into Italy stood at 3.4K tonnes in 2018, stabilizing at the previous year. Overall, composition leather imports continue to indicate a perceptible downturn. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2010 with an increase of 54% against the previous year. Over the period under review, composition leather imports attained their maximum at 5.1K tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, imports stood at a somewhat lower figure.

In value terms, composition leather imports amounted to $12M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, composition leather imports continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2010 when imports increased by 46% y-o-y. Over the period under review, composition leather imports attained their maximum at $12M in 2011; however, from 2012 to 2018, imports remained at a lower figure.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Germany (2.3K tonnes) constituted the largest supplier of composition leather to Italy, accounting for a 67% share of total imports. Moreover, composition leather imports from Germany exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest supplier, Slovenia (499 tonnes), fivefold. China (261 tonnes) ranked third in terms of total imports with a 7.6% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of volume from Germany stood at -3.7%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: Slovenia (-8.0% per year) and China (+42.8% per year).

In value terms, Germany ($7.6M) constituted the largest supplier of composition leather to Italy, comprising 63% of total composition leather imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by the UK ($1M), with a 8.3% share of total imports. It was followed by Slovenia, with a 8.1% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of value from Germany stood at -1.2%. The remaining supplying countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: the UK (+10.9% per year) and Slovenia (-4.3% per year).

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average composition leather import price amounted to $3,545 per tonne, increasing by 11% against the previous year. Over the last eleven-year period, it increased at an average annual rate of +3.7%. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2011 when the average import price increased by 17% y-o-y. Over the period under review, the average import prices for composition leather attained their maximum in 2018 and is likely to see steady growth in the near future.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was the UK ($8,990 per tonne), while the price for Slovenia ($1,985 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Hungary, while the prices for the other major suppliers experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform