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BRINGING HOME THE BACON: U.S. PORK TRADE

pork

BRINGING HOME THE BACON: U.S. PORK TRADE

The Year That Wasn’t

This year was supposed to mark a comeback for U.S. pork producers. Instead, the industry faces volatile markets and unprecedented supply chain disruptions. COVID-19’s domino effect on farmers, processors, retailers and consumers underscores the complexities of our modern food system.

In late April, meat industry executives warned the United States could soon face a meat shortage after processing facilities closed temporarily due to the spread of COVID-19 among employees. Total meat supplies in cold storage facilities across the United States totaled roughly two weeks’ worth of production. With processing at a standstill, meat supplies for retail grocery stores were expected to shrink by nearly 30 percent by Memorial Day, leading to increases in pork and beef price prices of as much as 20 percent, according to analysis by CoBank.

Shuttered plants also meant that farmers had nowhere to send their mature pigs, creating a massive livestock backlog. While many meat processors have re-opened as of May 2020, hog farmers may yet be forced to euthanize as many as seven million pigs in the second quarter of 2020, a loss valued at nearly $700 million. The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute forecasted a total loss of $2.2 billion for the U.S. pork industry in 2020 due to the pandemic.

US 3rd largest pork producer

Going Whole Hog on Exports

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States is the world’s third-largest producer and consumer of pork, shipping on average more than 5 billion pounds of fresh and frozen pork internationally each year since 2010.

But this dominant role in world pork trade is a fairly recent phenomenon. The United States became a net exporter of pork in 1995. Exports jumped from two percent of total production in 1990 to 21 percent in 2016. What made this spike possible?

The U.S. pork industry has gone through a major restructuring since the mid-1980s, shifting from small, independently owned operations to larger, vertically-integrated companies that contract with growers to raise pigs. This structure increased the industry’s productivity and year-round slaughter capacity. Between 1991 and 2009, the number of hog farms in the United States dropped by 70 percent but the number of hogs remained stable.

The National Pork Producers Council calculates that exports account for nearly 36 percent of the total $149 average value of a hog. While American pork is shipped to more than 100 countries, just four countries account for 75 percent of U.S. pork exports: Mexico, Japan, China, and Canada. It’s easy to see why implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is important to U.S. pork producers: Mexico alone accounts for about one-third of all exports by volume. U.S. exports of pork increased 1,550 percent in value since 1989, when the United States first implemented a free trade agreement with Canada.

U.S. pork producers mainly compete with pork producers in the European Union, Canada, and Brazil for sales in overseas markets. American farmers were concerned they could lose market share in Japan after the United States did not join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Japan made a trade deal with the European Union. Japan is the largest value market for U.S. pork and the second largest market by volume. However, pork exports there have been trending higher in 2020 following the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement.

Where US pork exports go

Higher on the Hog in China?

For the last two years, American pork producers have found themselves in the crosshairs of a trade war between the United States and China, a key export market. In April 2018, China levied a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on many U.S. pork imports in response to Section 232 tariffs put in place by the United States. In 2019, China again retaliated against American pork, this time in response to Section 301 tariffs.

Before the trade war, China was the second-largest market for U.S. farm exports (after Canada). In 2016, China purchased nearly $20 billion in American farm products but sales dropped sharply in 2018 to $7.9 billion.

The “Phase One” U.S.-China trade agreement went into effect on February 14, 2020. It includes a commitment from China to import an additional $12.5 billion in U.S. agricultural products during 2020 on top of a 2017 baseline of about $24 billion. The agreement also provides access for a larger variety of U.S. pork products and restores access for processed pork products, which had been blocked by China.

As part of this deal, on February 17 China announced tariff exclusions for 696 products, including pork. In the first quarter of 2020, China bought $5.05 billion in U.S. farm goods, up 110 percent from last year. China’s pork imports almost tripled from March 2019, reflecting a major domestic supply gap caused by African Swine Fever (ASF).

However, concerns remain if it is feasible for China to meet the purchase targets set in the agreement. Through March 2020, U.S. Census Bureau data show that U.S. agricultural exports to China were only at 37 percent of year-to-date targets. The American Farm Bureau Federation found that U.S. agricultural exports to China need to accelerate by 114 percent each month from May through the rest of the fiscal year to meet the “Phase One” target.

China ag purchases fall in trade war

Not Exactly “Year of the Pig” for Pork Industry

The possibility of U.S. sales to China going unfulfilled seems surprising. Another virus – ASF – has been ravaging China’s pork output since August 2018. ASF is a highly contagious, deadly pig disease with no known treatment or vaccine. It does not affect humans or food safety but it has had a devastating impact on China’s pork industry, the world’s largest, leaving a shortage in domestic supply.

Despite low officially reported cases of ASF, as many as 350 million pigs died from the disease in China during 2019. (And because the disease continues to spread across borders, one quarter of all the world’s pigs may die from ASF.) After more than a year of declining pork output, China’s total pork supply gap is estimated at 18 million tons – a figure much larger than total global supplies. Chinese consumers have faced record high prices for pork, traditionally their protein of choice. Some parts of the country also faced meat shortages due to disrupted supply chains during the COVID-19 quarantine.

To address persistent high prices, the Chinese government auctioned off a small amount of frozen pork from publicly held pork reserves, but the move was largely symbolic and had a limited short-term impact on prices. The government’s total pork reserve volumes are a national secret and not publicly available.

Enter: Coronavirus

As American hog farmers were positioning to fill China’s need to import more pork, enter the coronavirus in early 2020, which threw the U.S. pork market into extreme volatility.

After COVID-19 forced processing plants to temporarily close, U.S. pig prices dropped 27 percent in about a week, reducing profits for pig producers while consumers paid more for pork at the grocery store. The demand for meat often takes a hit during economic recessions as consumers keep a close eye on their grocery bill. At the same time, the industry lost major food service markets such as restaurants, universities, and elementary schools that were also shut down.

To help pork producers and other farmers, USDA on April 17 announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to provide $19 billion in emergency aid to farmers and ranchers hit by market disruptions. CFAP includes $16 billion in direct payments to producers and $3 billion in purchases of fresh produce, meat, and dairy products for distribution through food banks. USDA will purchase an estimated $100 million per month in pork and chicken, along with other food products, beginning in May. Nonetheless, an industry-funded analysis by Iowa State University found that American hog farmers will lose $5 billion (or $37 per pig) due to reduced prices for pork and shuttered processing plants.

US pork shipments to China

Saving Our Bacon

America’s pork industry has been beset with uncertainty in recent years. The latest Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer found that the unknowns surrounding the pandemic have further decreased farmer optimism to a four-year low, with 67 percent of farmers saying they are worried about the impact of the coronavirus on their business.

Prior to COVID-19, U.S. farmers were already reeling from lost sales due to China’s tariffs. The saving grace for U.S. pork producers now is that pork exports are actually ramping up.

During March and April, the number of pigs slaughtered per day decreased by 40 percent, but shipments of U.S. pork to China more than quadrupled, including whole carcasses as well as products that Americans generally don’t eat, like feet and organs. The U.S. Meat Export Federation estimated that so far in 2020, about 31 percent of U.S. pork has been exported with one-third of that volume going to China.

That means that in the near term, increasing exports will remain vital for the U.S. pork industry to weather the coronavirus storm as processing capacity gets back online and domestic sales begin to rebound.

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Sarah Hubbart provides communications strategy, content creation, and social media management for TradeVistas. A native of rural Northern California, Sarah has melded communications and policy throughout her career in Washington, D.C., serving in government affairs, issues management, and coalition building roles in the agricultural sector. She is an alum of California State University, Chico and George Washington University.

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

Global Stock Markets Impacted by Trade War

Understanding the finer points of the stock market and the how and why of its ups and downs is a complex task for anyone. When major shifts in a whole diaspora of fields occur, people often look to the stock market as a gauge for how significant those shifts really are and what the potential results are going to come out as. World news is often reported as to how it has an impact on the world of finance, and this is certainly one such instance, as President Trump trades tariff blows with China in a rapidly escalating trade war. The impact of this trade war certainly didn’t avoid the stock market, which took notice of the shifting costs of exports and imports and created a noticeable response. Let’s take a look at what’s really going on in this recent episode in the global economy.

Trump VS China

The US President’s attitude towards foreign nations is an eternally shifting spectrum, though it does tend to rest somewhere towards antagonistic for the sake of sending a message. Trump’s ‘show of force’ tactics recently got him into a situation with China on a trade front, causing a situation that has impacted all of the global markets, and heavily impacted the American and Chinese markets. “Trump has a latent tension towards China that simply won’t abate, no matter how few tangible issues there are in reality. This drove him most recently to impose some pretty severe tariffs on Chinese goods,” reports Samuel Chang, data analyst at WriteMyx and BritStudent.

US Tariff

The United States began a 15 percent tariff on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods for import, from tech to clothing. Trump’s explanation for his move relates again to his suspicion of all of the largest global powers, from Russia to China. He spoke out, via his favorite medium Twitter, about the US over-reliance on Chinese exports, and that his tariff was a motivator for US companies to look for alternative solutions for suppliers outside of China, rather than simply turning to some nation over and over again to supply the products they needed.

Trump’s Reasoning

Trump’s steps to disincentivize US trade with China could be viewed as impulsive, since the immediate effects of so drastic a tariff will likely fall on the US consumer, with US household costs potentially rising by up to $1000 a year, with such a large selection of consumer goods now made noticeably more expensive. Similarly, Trump’s plan, though it must have considered the possibility of consequences, didn’t allow for a reaction in the opposite direction as the Chinese trade officials lashed back at the tariff.

The Chinese Response

Not ones to be out-maneuvered, least of all by Trump, the Chinese responded to the tariffs with sanctions of their own that were as much a political response as a practical one, as they delivered a counter punch to Trump’s initial move. China immediately imposed additional tariffs on exported goods on a $75-billion target list, and further tariffs were placed on thousands of items originating from the US. Similarly, China was quick to begin imposing new duties on US crude oil, a predictable but damaging move that has made the potential fallout and impact on global stock markets more noticeable.

The Trade War Fallout

“Such actions from nations as influential as the US and China don’t come without an impact that affects people from all around the world. In this instance, a variety of shifts have left most markets a little worse for wear, but most drastic damage has been avoided”, explains Mark Cherry, a business writer at Australia2Write and NextCoursework. The fallout included the US stock futures dipping 0.7% and the Asian markets are down. A noticeable drop in oil prices was also recorded, as would have been expected after the duties imposed on US crude by the Chinese.

Conclusion

This is the latest in a series of jabs between the US and China, though there is no sense in which these sorts of interactions have all that much of a practical purpose. Though this particular episode abated pretty swiftly, the threat of further escalations has made the market quite jittery.

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Mildred Delgado is a young and responsible marketing strategist at PhdKingdom and AcademicBrits. She works with a company’s marketing team in order to create a fully-functional site that accurately portrays the company. Mildred is also responsible for presenting these details to stakeholders in a series of marketing proposals. You can find her work at OriginWritings.

risk management

Strategic Risk Management Means Preparing for the Worst but Hoping for the Best

Trading globally comes with risks. You’re operating in a foreign market with different rules, regulations and business practices, not to mention the lack of geographic proximity makes it difficult to keep tabs on your trading partner and ensure the relationship is strong and payments will be made promptly. That said, those risks can be minimized with a smart risk management strategy that tips the risk/reward balance in your company’s favor.

A smart risk management strategy begins with a solid foundation in research that takes a macro look at the market and a micro look at your trading partner and their sector. For the former, the World Bank’s ease of doing business index can provide valuable information on business regulations in nearly 200 economies. Trade credit insurers can also help you keep tabs on specific markets and sectors.

To better understand your trading partner, start by researching the cultural elements of doing business in that market. Making a mistake can negatively affect or even end your relationship with your trading partner. Ask colleagues about any business culture etiquette you should be aware of, and review your notes before making the initial introduction. Getting this part correct will help you forge a strong relationship moving forward.

Next, take your time before signing any contracts. It may be tempting to quickly jump into a new opportunity, but if you rush through the documentation process, neglect to have a lawyer review the terms of your agreement or fail to validate your trading partner’s sound financial standing, you could end up with major headaches in the future.

Once you have an agreement in place, figure out how to maintain a close relationship with your trading partner. You don’t want to find out too late that your trading partner is in distress – you want to be aware of the first signs of trouble so you can take steps to protect yourself against late payment or nonpayment. Some of the classic signs of a company headed for insolvency include sudden late payments, pushing back for discounts or a drop-off in communication.

If your customer is overseas, don’t assume email and phone calls will be enough. A local presence is advised, as this is the only real way to understand the subtle shifts occurring in the local market and with your trading partner. How you establish the local presence will depend on the size of your opportunity. Large business deals may require establishing a foreign office, while appointing a local agent or having an employee visit frequently may suffice for smaller opportunities.

Finally, have contingency plans in place to cover any and all likely scenarios, including disruptions to trade via major events (such as the coronavirus shutting down production facilities in China or the trade wars suddenly making input materials more expensive) or delinquent customers. For the former scenario, you’ll want to understand how political or economic developments will impact your costs and know how you’ll pivot, if needed.

For delinquent customers, your first step should be establishing the facts and uncovering what’s actually going on. If the customer proves slippery and evasive, consider engaging a third-party expert to mediate. Review your contract terms to make a list of options available to you – can you recover your goods? Or is it time to start the legal collection process?

Strategic risk management is really about preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. A thorough understanding of the market, the sector and your trading partners, paired with detailed plans for how to react to any likely scenarios will minimize the risks to your business and help you feel confident conquering new markets.

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Gordon Cessford is the president and regional director of North America for Atradius Trade Credit Insurance, Inc.

barley

Global Barley Market Rose 3.3% to $33.7B

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

The global barley market revenue amounted to $33.7B in 2018, picking up 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).

Barley Consumption by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of barley consumption in 2018 were Russia (12M tonnes), China (9.7M tonnes) and Spain (9.5M tonnes), together accounting for 23% of global consumption.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of barley consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by China, while barley consumption for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, China ($2.5B), Spain ($2.4B) and Russia ($2.3B) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of market value in 2018, together accounting for 21% of the global market.

The countries with the highest levels of barley per capita consumption in 2018 were Spain (203 kg per person), Canada (167 kg per person) and Saudi Arabia (130 kg per person).

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of barley per capita consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by China, while barley per capita consumption for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Production By Country

The countries with the highest volumes of barley production in 2018 were Russia (17M tonnes), France (11M tonnes) and Germany (9.6M tonnes), with a combined 27% share of global production. Australia, Spain, Canada, Ukraine, Turkey, the UK, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Denmark lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 43%.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of barley production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Kazakhstan, while barley production for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Exports 2007-2018

In 2018, the global barley exports totaled 37M tonnes, falling by -4.7% against the previous year. In value terms, barley exports stood at $7.5B (IndexBox estimates).

Exports by Country

The countries with the highest levels of barley exports in 2018 were Australia (6.9M tonnes), France (6.6M tonnes) and Russia (5.4M tonnes), together finishing at 51% of total export. Ukraine (3.6M tonnes) occupied a 9.7% share (based on tonnes) of total exports, which put it in second place, followed by Argentina (6.9%), Canada (6%) and Germany (5%). The following exporters – Romania (1,336K tonnes), Kazakhstan (1,052K tonnes), the UK (852K tonnes), Denmark (776K tonnes) and Hungary (567K tonnes) – together made up 12% of total exports.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by Kazakhstan, while exports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest barley supplying countries worldwide were Australia ($1.4B), France ($1.3B) and Russia ($1B), together comprising 50% of global exports. Ukraine, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Romania, the UK, Denmark, Kazakhstan and Hungary lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 40%.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average barley export price amounted to $202 per tonne, rising by 14% against the previous year.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Canada ($236 per tonne), while Kazakhstan ($145 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by the UK, while the other global leaders experienced a decline in the export price figures.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

industries

Most Affected Industries By US-China Trade War

Since Donald Trump became president, the US and Chinese governments have been at loggerheads after the Trump administration started imposing hiked tariffs on goods coming from China. This came hot on the heels of a trade deal that the two governments had been negotiating on, a deal that was supposed to strengthen trade between the two global economic powerhouses. Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods are now being tariffed at 25%, up from 10%. China is threatening to come up with stringent countermeasures, which threatens to precipitate a full-blown trade war.

Trade experts are predicting that American companies that import goods from China will be paying unreasonably hefty taxes to their government by 2020. That could cripple their operations.

This trade tension has precipitated many harsh and far-reaching consequences. Manufacturers and importers in the US are now cutting costs, postponing key business deals, and putting off investments in a bid to cushion the business-crippling impact of the trade wars. Moody’s Analytics- an American economic research firm- estimates that this has already cost 300,000 Americans their jobs and if things don’t change for the better, more than 450,000 job opportunities will have been quashed by the end of 2019. This impact is being felt across industries, although some industries have been affected more than others. Here are some of these industries:

The Energy Sector

Steel and aluminum are very important to America’s energy sector. They are used to construct oil pipelines, to build solar panels, to distribute electric power- you name it! President Trump has proposed an additional tax on aluminum and steel imports from China, which has already caused the country’s energy PD to hike significantly. Projects in the energy sector will keep getting pricier, which in turn will force consumers to pay higher prices for clean energy. If the price gets out of hand, there is a serious danger of many Americans ditching the expensive clean energy for the cheaper dirty energy.

Automobiles

American automakers sell most of their products in the Chinese market. In 2018, as a countermeasure, the Chinese government raised tariffs from 15% to 40% for all automobiles entering its market from the US. This hasn’t affected the Chinese so much, bearing in mind that the Asian nation has a thriving automobile sector that can satisfy the local market.

On the other hand, American electric automakers including Tesla Inc. (TSLA) will be feeling the pinch in the long run if the China-US trade tension deteriorates. Auto parts sellers will also stand to lose if the situation won’t improve. That being said, things are looking up for this industry as the Chinese government promised to suspend the tariffs as an act of goodwill. If the US could return the gesture, fortunes are likely to turn in favor of American automakers.

Translation Industry

Digital technology has allowed many American firms to expand their products and services in China. The Asian market helps companies from the west to generate a consistent growth rate of 4-5% per annum, sometimes more. That is why localization services have become very marketable in the recent past: If you want to expand in China, you should consider hiring professional translation services to handle all your localization projects, failure to which you could greatly hurt your chances of understanding or impressing your Chinese customers. But then with the growing trade tension, lesser companies will be keen to move to China in the future, which will mean lesser need for translation services. The translation industry in China could really suffer going forward.

Food and Agribusiness

The Chinese government cut off imports of corn, soybeans, nuts, lobster, and other farm products from the US. The American farmers are now struggling to find a market for their produce, which has, in turn, affected their productivity. Tractor manufacturers and farm input sellers are also feeling the pinch. Processed food companies in the US might be forced to lay off workers and close some of their processing plants if things remain as they are.

Tech Sector

Most tech companies in the US have opened shops in China, some of them including NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) and Intel Corp. (INTC). Chinese tech manufacturers, on the other hand, depend on American semiconductor suppliers to run their businesses. An escalation in the U.S.-China trade war could really hurt tech traders in both countries.

Conclusion

The tension between the U.S. and Chinese officials could end up hurting key industries in both economies. It could be a battle over who will control international trade, but it can easily boil over and become counterproductive. The sad thing is that no one really knows for sure if the tension will rage on or we still are going to witness more draconian tariffs. Only time will tell.

eaglerail

THE EAGLERAIL HAS LANDED: CEO MIKE WYCHOCKI PUSHES A “NO BRAINER” WHEN IT COMES TO MOVING SHIPPING CONTAINERS AT CONGESTED PORTS

It’s amazing where new logistics solutions come from. They are usually born by veteran shippers with visions on how to improve an existing operation. Or it can be a customer or customers seeking help in conquering a specific challenge that eventually resonates throughout the industry.

Then there is the inception of Chicago-based EagleRail Container Logistics’ signature solution. It can be traced to a pitch meeting for a new monorail in Brazil that was attended by a port authority official who was there more as a cheerleader than a participant.

Watching a Chicago marketing man’s PowerPoint presentation about his company’s passenger monorail system to local leaders in São Paulo eight years ago, the port representative, Jose Newton Gama, marveled at how the magnetic levitation (Maglev) trains holding people would be suspended under overhead tracks.

Then the Brazilian known by friends as Newton raised his hand.

“Excuse me?” he asked the Americano. “Could your system be adapted to hold shipping containers?”

That had never occurred to project designers, whose monorail cars for passengers are much lighter than would be required for cargo containers hauled by ships, trucks and freight trains. But the marketing man shared Gama’s question with his colleagues in the Windy City, and that planted the seed that eventually bore EagleRail Container Logistics.

Chief Executive Officer Mike Wychocki was an early investor who eventually bought out that marketing man, but the first EagleRail system is named “Newton” after the Brazilian who now sits on the company’s board of advisors. “He’s a great guy,” says Wychocki during a recent phone interview. “Newton is our biggest cheerleader.”

Wychocki’s no slouch with the pom-poms himself, having pitched EagleRail at 40 ports in 20 countries over the past five years. His company, which has offices around the world, is developing its first prototype in China, and studies are underway at six ports as EagleRail sets about raising $20 million in capital. (The window for small investments had just closed when Wychocki was interviewed. His company has since shifted its focus to large investors.)

The way ports have operated for decades left no need for a system like EagleRail’s. Big ships dock, cranes remove containers stacked on their decks and each box is then moved onto the back of a flatbed truck that either hauls it to a distribution center or an intermodal yard. Until recent years, no one really thought of disrupting the process because, as Wychocki puts it, “you could always find cheaper truck drivers.”

However, truck driver shortages, port-area air pollution and congestion caused by the time it takes to load and unload ever-larger ships have prompted serious soul searching when it comes to short hauls. Expanding the size of ports is often not an option due to the cities that have grown to surround them. This has led to the creation of large container parks for trucks and/or freight trains within a few miles of ports, but getting boxes to those remains problematic—at a time when megaships are only making matters more difficult.

“There is an old saying that ports are where old trucks go to die,” says Wychocki, who ticks off as problems associated with that mode of moving containers pollution, maintenance and fuel costs, as well as the issues of public safety because some drivers essentially live inside of their vehicles, which can attract prostitution and leave behind litter and human waste. Adding even more of these dirty trucks would necessitate more road building, which only adds to environmental concerns.

With ground space at ports a constantly shrinking commodity, tunneling underground may be viewed as an option. But Wychocki points out that many ports have emerged on unstable ground like backfill, and water, power and sewer lines are usually below what’s under the streets beyond port gates. The idea of a hyperloop has been bandied about, but it would require emptying shipping containers at the port, loading the contents into smaller boxes, sending those through to another yard, and then repacking the shipping containers on the other side. “That defeats the whole point” of relieving port congestion, the EagleRail CEO says.

Ah, but every port has unused air space, which is what Wychocki’s company seeks to exploit. “If an Amazon warehouse can lift and shuttle packages robotically,” he says, “why not do the same with a 60,000-pound package? Go to a warehouse. See how Amazon works with packages. They use overhead light rails. It’s an obvious idea, so obvious. It’s a no brainer when you think about it.”

Yes, Amazon also uses drones, but can you imagine the size it would have to be to carry a 60,000-pound shipping container? Wychocki sees a suspended container track as an extension of the cranes on every loading dock worldwide, which is why EagleRail systems are also all-electric and composed of the same crane hardware to avoid snags when it comes to replacing parts.

However, Wychocki is quick to note EagleRail is not a total solution when it comes to port congestion. He calculates that among the short-haul trucks leaving a port, 50 percent are going to 500 different locations, many of which are different states away, while the other half is bound for just a couple nearby destinations. EagleRail is geared toward the latter, and the problem with getting containers to them “is not technological; it’s who controls the five kilometers between the port and the intermodal facility,” he says.

Lifting equipment at ports “is exactly the same in all 200 countries,” he adds. “The part that is not the same is the back end. What is the port’s configuration? Where do the roads come in? What we do is form a consortium and build it with each local player, such as the port authority, the road authority, the national rail company, the power company. Getting everyone involved helps get procurement and environmental rights of way.”

He concedes that getting everyone on board “varies by location,” but when it comes to environmental concerns “everyone’s kind of wanting to do this because it means fewer trucks, and the power companies would prefer the use of electricity (over burning diesel). It sounds harder than it is to get everyone rowing in the same direction.”

Wychocki points to another bonus with EagleRail: It allows for total control of one’s intermodal yard because containers come and go on the same circular route—all day long. “We take this on as a disruptive business model,” he says, noting that short-haul trucks generally involve the use of data-chain-breaking clipboards and mobile phones. EagleRail systems track containers on them in real-time, rolling in all customs paperwork and billing invoices automatically.

“It’s amazing, I just came from the Port of Rotterdam, where I was a keynote,” Wychocki says. “Even the biggest ports in the world like Antwerp were saying, ‘This is great. Why isn’t anyone else doing it?’”

Actually, EagleRail accidentally created direct competition. Wychocki explains that during the initial design phase, his company worked with a foreign monorail concern whose cars used what were essentially aircraft tires rolling inside a closed channel. Concerns about maintaining a system that would invariably involve frequently changing tires—and thus slowing down operations—caused EagleRail to reject that design in favor of another third-party’s calling for steel-on-steel wheels. The designer with tires is pressing on with its own system and without EagleRail.

“I’m glad we didn’t go that route,” says Wychocki, who nonetheless expects more serious competition once EagleRail systems are up and running. Fortunately for the company, there are plenty of ports bursting at the seams that cannot wait that long. Wychocki says a question he invariably gets after pitching EagleRail is: “Where were you 10 years ago? Usually, there is an urgency.”

That’s why “our goal was to get out of the gate fast, build market share and our brand and create a quasi-franchise network,” says Wychocki, whose business model has EagleRail owning 25 percent of a system while the port and other local entities own the rest.

He estimates that within 10 years, 12 EagleRail systems will be operating. If that sounds like a pipe dream, consider that his company’s newsletter boasts 3,000 subscribers before a system is even up and running. Wychocki does not credit “brilliant marketing” for that keen interest. “It’s because every port’s problems are getting worse. Everyone is squealing about what to do with these giant ships that cannot be unloaded fast enough. They are desperate.”

Recovered fibre pulp

China’s Recovered Fibre Pulp Market to Reach 82M Tonnes by 2025

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

The revenue of the recovered fibre pulp market in China amounted to $23.3B in 2018, approximately reflecting 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, the total market indicated a buoyant increase from 2007 to 2018: its value increased at an average annual rate of +4.2% over the last eleven years. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, recovered fibre pulp consumption decreased by -23.7% against 2015 indices. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2012 when the market value increased by 32% y-o-y. Recovered fibre pulp consumption peaked at $30.5B in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, consumption remained at a lower figure.

Market Forecast 2019-2025 in China

Driven by increasing demand for recovered fibre pulp in China, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next seven-year period. Market performance is forecast to retain its current trend pattern, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +3.8% for the seven-year period from 2018 to 2025, which is projected to bring the market volume to 82M tonnes by the end of 2025.

Production in China

In 2018, the recovered fibre pulp production in China stood at 63M tonnes, leveling off at the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +4.2% over the period from 2007 to 2018; however, the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2009 with an increase of 13% against the previous year. Recovered fibre pulp production peaked at 63M tonnes in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, production failed to regain its momentum.

In value terms, recovered fibre pulp production amounted to $22.8B in 2018 estimated in export prices. In general, recovered fibre pulp production continues to indicate a prominent increase. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011 with an increase of 47% against the previous year. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp production reached its maximum level at $33.3B in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, production remained at a lower figure.

Exports from China

In 2018, approx. 549 tonnes of recovered fibre pulp were exported from China; increasing by 3% against the previous year. Overall, the total exports indicated a conspicuous increase from 2007 to 2018: its volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.0% over the last eleven years. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, recovered fibre pulp exports decreased by -5.2% against 2016 indices. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2012 when exports increased by 55% against the previous year. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp exports attained their maximum at 579 tonnes in 2016; however, from 2017 to 2018, exports remained at a lower figure.

In value terms, recovered fibre pulp exports amounted to $198K (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp exports continue to indicate a significant increase. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2012 with an increase of 114% y-o-y. Exports peaked at $282K in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, exports stood at a somewhat lower figure.

Exports by Country

China, Hong Kong SAR (93 tonnes), Kyrgyzstan (76 tonnes) and the U.S. (74 tonnes) were the main destinations of recovered fibre pulp exports from China, together accounting for 44% of total exports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main countries of destination, was attained by the U.S. (+55.3% per year), while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Kyrgyzstan ($45K), South Korea ($27K) and the U.S. ($24K) appeared to be the largest markets for recovered fibre pulp exported from China worldwide, with a combined 49% share of total exports.

Among the main countries of destination, Kyrgyzstan (+50.3% per year) experienced the highest growth rate of exports, over the last eleven years, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Export Prices by Country

In 2018, the average recovered fibre pulp export price amounted to $361 per tonne, therefore, remained relatively stable against the previous year. Overall, the recovered fibre pulp export price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The most prominent rate of growth was recorded in 2012 when the average export price increased by 38% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the average export prices for recovered fibre pulp reached their maximum at $525 per tonne in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2018, export prices failed to regain their momentum.

Prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest price was South Korea ($1,273 per tonne), while the average price for exports to Togo ($53 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 South Korea, while the prices for the other major destinations experienced more modest paces of growth.

Imports into China

In 2018, the imports of recovered fibre pulp into China totaled 11K tonnes, going down by -3.9% against the previous year. In general, recovered fibre pulp imports continue to indicate a perceptible curtailment. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2009 when imports increased by 85% y-o-y. In that year, recovered fibre pulp imports reached their peak of 20K tonnes. From 2010 to 2018, the growth of recovered fibre pulp imports failed to regain its momentum.

In value terms, recovered fibre pulp imports amounted to $5.9M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018. Overall, recovered fibre pulp imports continue to indicate a temperate decrease. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2009 with an increase of 97% y-o-y. Over the period under review, recovered fibre pulp imports attained their peak figure at $12M in 2010; however, from 2011 to 2018, imports remained at a lower figure.

Imports by Country

Malaysia (3.4K tonnes), Indonesia (2.9K tonnes) and the U.S. (2.9K tonnes) were the main suppliers of recovered fibre pulp imports to China, with a combined 81% share of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main suppliers, was attained by Indonesia (+68.3% per year), while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the U.S. ($1.8M), Indonesia ($1.5M) and Malaysia ($1.4M) were the largest recovered fibre pulp suppliers to China, with a combined 79% share of total imports.

In terms of the main suppliers, Indonesia (+65.2% per year) recorded the highest rates of growth with regard to imports, over the last eleven years, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the average recovered fibre pulp import price amounted to $512 per tonne, increasing by 1.8% against the previous year. Over the period from 2007 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +1.8%. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2010 when the average import price increased by 24% year-to-year. Over the period under review, the average import prices for recovered fibre pulp reached their maximum at $610 per tonne in 2013; however, from 2014 to 2018, import prices remained at a lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major supplying countries. In 2018, the country with the highest price was Saudi Arabia ($961 per tonne), while the price for South Africa ($364 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

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

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

4PL

ONE, TWO, 3PL … or 4PL? DETERMINING WHICH MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR YOUR BUSINESS

The supply chain ecosystem is becoming more demanding as consumers are conditioned to expect nearly instantaneous free shipping and where order delays can inflict serious damage to brands. As a result, shippers must carefully select their supply chain partners, as their performance has a much greater potential impact on customer satisfaction and the bottom line than ever before.

However, shippers are often perplexed when faced with the choice of partnering with a 3PL or 4PL to tackle their logistics and transportation challenges.

“Every shipper is unique, but many face the same challenges and share the same goals: reducing costs, optimizing their network, consolidating shipments, changing behaviors, improving customer service, and improving visibility, to name a few,” says Ross Spanier, senior vice president of Sales and Solutions at GlobalTranz, a Phoenix, Arizona-based tech company that provides a cloud-based, multimodal transportation management system (TMS) to shippers, carriers and brokers.

“The common thread that links these challenges and goals is data,” Spanier continues, “and many companies lack the data they need to make truly informed business decisions.”

He should know. Spanier brings more than 17 years of experience—which includes stops at C.H. Robinson and Logistics Planning Services—to the discussion of 3PL versus 4PL partnerships. Shippers, he maintains, should focus on the capabilities of the prospective partner and seek out partners that combine the technology, people, multimodal services and solutions they need to in gain a competitive advantage.

“Many shippers really cannot afford to staff and maintain an internal transportation and logistics team,” he notes. “Finding a partner that can act as an extension of their business is key. It’s also extremely important to make sure your partner can provide technology and experience in implementation, execution and integration. That can be a significant cost and a disruption for businesses that attempt to do that by themselves.”

Whether you’re a medium-sized business or listed on the Fortune 1000 annual list, deciding between a 3PL and a 4PL sets the stage for all moving parts.

“A common misunderstanding is that a 3PL is just a broker, when the reality is they can be much more than that,” Spanier says. “At GlobalTranz, our managed solutions are a great example of that. We can offer a more strategic and consultative approach for our customers including having ‘skin in the game’ on the broker side, where we’re taking on pricing commitments, service level commitments, managing the risks and owning the contracts.

“Many times, that is one of the common misunderstandings because a 3PL can act very strategically with customers and not necessarily need a fourth party. The 4PL typically offers strategic insights and management of a company’s entire supply chain, and often if one goes back to the question of ‘what is the difference between a 3PL and 4PL,’ 4PLs are the right fit for much more mature, large or complex organizations.”

GlobalTranz positions itself as a leader in customized solutions for a wide variety of shippers across many industry verticals. From LTL to truckload, final mile or white-glove service, intermodal, ocean, air, and cross-border Mexico transportation … are all part of the GlobalTranz offering. In addition, the company offers an award-winning TMS. The company takes pride in collaborative efforts between the people driving their technology as an integrated solution offered to their customer base.

“Whether a customer is best-suited for a 3PL or 4PL solution is typically not already known when we walk in the door, Spanier explains. “We like to show where a customer can gain the most value based on the solution and its capabilities. More times than not, it’s about voicing that to the customer and understanding where their constraints are and how we can put a solution together–a 3PL or a 4PL solution.”

GlobalTranz boasts a different approach when it comes to serving its customer base. Its robust managed solutions offerings serve a variety of needs that can be tailored upon identifying where the client’s business needs it the most. The experts at GlobalTranz take the process of solution identification one step further by evaluating the needs and configuring a solution from there. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, which is exactly how GlobalTranz separates itself from the rest as a leader in logistics solutions–whether that be a 3PL or 4PL solution.

“People, processes, and technology are important, and it’s crucial to establish relationships and communications that are aligned with company goals,” Spanier contends. “Without strong relationships in place, technology and process won’t deliver the needed support or what they’re looking to get out of a partner. When you have a customer looking at a 3PL solution, you want to make sure that a 3PL has the ability to bring in carriers no matter what markets they operate in. This is critical because they may be in one market today but with growth, both organic and through acquisitions, and the changing dynamics in customer demand and expectations, the footprint could expand and it’s important to have a partner that is quick to react and agile in respect to their carrier partners as well.”

So, when deciding on what makes the most sense for your business, consider partners that not only provide solutions but are agile and customizable based on specific business goals.

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As the GlobalTranz Senior Vice President of Sales and Solutions, Ross Spanier leads the enterprise sales organization as well as the design and delivery of innovative and customized supply chain solutions that drive efficiency, cost savings and competitive advantages for current and prospective customers. With more than 15 years of experience in the supply chain and logistics industry, Spanier has developed and grown sales and operations teams specializing in best-in-class service execution of LTL, TL, expedite, supply chain management, projects & heavy haul, white glove and managed transportation service lines. Prior to joining GlobalTranz in 2017, he held sales and operations leadership roles at both C.H. Robinson and Logistics Planning Services (LPS).

scaffolding

EU Scaffolding Market Rose 4.5% to Reach $2.4B in 2018

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘EU – Equipment For Scaffolding, Shuttering, Propping Or Pit Propping – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the scaffolding market in the European Union amounted to $2.4B in 2018, surging by 4.5% 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).

Consumption by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of scaffolding consumption in 2018 were Poland (489K tonnes), Italy (317K tonnes) and Germany (161K tonnes), with a combined 52% share of total consumption. These countries were followed by France, Spain, Belgium, the UK, Bulgaria, Austria, Portugal, Sweden and the Czech Republic, which together accounted for a further 37%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of scaffolding consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Belgium, while scaffolding consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest scaffolding markets in the European Union were Poland ($401M), Germany ($333M) and Italy ($300M), together accounting for 42% of the total market. France, the UK, Austria, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Portugal lagged somewhat behind, together accounting for a further 40%.

The countries with the highest levels of scaffolding per capita consumption in 2018 were Poland (12,800 kg per 1000 persons), Belgium (10,778 kg per 1000 persons) and Bulgaria (10,126 kg per 1000 persons).

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of scaffolding per capita consumption, amongst the main consuming countries, was attained by Belgium, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Production in the EU

The EU scaffolding production totaled 2.1M tonnes in 2018, therefore, remained relatively stable against the previous year. Overall, scaffolding production, however, continues to indicate a measured drop. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2014 with an increase of 16% against the previous year. Over the period under review, scaffolding production attained its maximum volume at 2.8M tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, production failed to regain its momentum.

Production by Country

The countries with the highest volumes of scaffolding production in 2018 were Poland (541K tonnes), Italy (389K tonnes) and Germany (257K tonnes), with a combined 57% share of total production. These countries were followed by Austria, Spain, Belgium and Bulgaria, which together accounted for a further 29%.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of scaffolding production, amongst the main producing countries, was attained by Austria, while scaffolding production for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Exports in the EU

In 2018, the exports of equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping in the European Union amounted to 1.3M tonnes, surging by 13% against the previous year. In general, scaffolding exports continue to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011 with an increase of 20% year-to-year. Over the period under review, scaffolding exports reached their peak figure in 2018 and are expected to retain its growth in the immediate term.

In value terms, scaffolding exports totaled $3.1B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

Germany (360K tonnes) and Austria (266K tonnes) were the largest exporters of equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping in 2018, accounting for approx. 28% and 21% of total exports, respectively. Italy (115K tonnes) occupied the next position in the ranking, followed by Spain (109K tonnes) and Poland (101K tonnes). All these countries together occupied approx. 26% share of total exports. The Czech Republic (44K tonnes), the Netherlands (43K tonnes), Belgium (39K tonnes), the UK (36K tonnes), Sweden (26K tonnes), France (25K tonnes) and Portugal (21K tonnes) occupied a little 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 Sweden.

In value terms, the largest scaffolding supplying countries in the European Union were Germany ($1.1B), Austria ($652M) and Spain ($235M), together comprising 63% of total exports. These countries were followed by Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, the Czech Republic, Sweden, France and Portugal, which together accounted for a further 31%.

Export Prices by Country

The scaffolding export price in the European Union stood at $2,440 per tonne in 2018, surging by 8.7% against the previous year. Prices varied noticeably by the country of origin; the country with the highest price was Germany ($2,954 per tonne), while the Czech Republic ($1,538 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of prices was attained by Belgium.

Imports in the EU

The imports totaled 1M tonnes in 2018, going up by 15% against the previous year. In general, scaffolding imports, however, continue to indicate a slight curtailment. The growth pace was the most rapid in 2018 when imports increased by 15% against the previous year. The volume of imports peaked at 1.2M tonnes in 2007; however, from 2008 to 2018, imports stood at a somewhat lower figure.

In value terms, scaffolding imports amounted to $2.3B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, Germany (263K tonnes), distantly followed by France (114K tonnes), the UK (91K tonnes), Austria (72K tonnes), the Netherlands (54K tonnes), Belgium (49K tonnes), Poland (49K tonnes) and Sweden (49K tonnes) were the main importers of equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping, together comprising 71% of total imports. The following importers – Spain (45K tonnes), Italy (42K tonnes), the Czech Republic (29K tonnes) and Denmark (25K tonnes) – together made up 14% of total imports.

From 2007 to 2018, average annual rates of growth with regard to scaffolding imports into Germany stood at +5.8%. At the same time, Sweden (+6.9%), the Czech Republic (+1.8%), Denmark (+1.6%) and Austria (+1.1%) displayed positive paces of growth. Moreover, Sweden emerged as the fastest-growing importer imported in the European Union, with a CAGR of +6.9% from 2007-2018. France experienced a relatively flat trend pattern. By contrast, Poland (-1.8%), Belgium (-1.9%), Spain (-4.8%), the Netherlands (-7.0%), Italy (-7.2%) and the UK (-8.3%) illustrated a downward trend over the same period. While the share of Germany (+12 p.p.) and Sweden (+2.4 p.p.) increased significantly in terms of the total imports from 2007-2018, the share of Spain (-3.2 p.p.), Italy (-5.2 p.p.), the Netherlands (-6.3 p.p.) and the UK (-14 p.p.) displayed negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

In value terms, Germany ($539M) constitutes the largest market for imported equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping in the European Union, comprising 24% of total scaffolding imports. The second position in the ranking was occupied by France ($251M), with a 11% share of total imports. It was followed by the UK, with a 9.2% share.

From 2007 to 2018, the average annual growth rate of value in Germany amounted to +3.3%. The remaining importing countries recorded the following average annual rates of imports growth: France (-0.4% per year) and the UK (-4.8% per year).

Import Prices by Country

In 2018, the scaffolding import price in the European Union amounted to $2,185 per tonne, increasing by 5.3% against the previous year. In general, the scaffolding import price continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2008 an increase of 19% y-o-y. In that year, the import prices for equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping attained their peak level of $2,586 per tonne. From 2009 to 2018, the growth in terms of the import prices for equipment for scaffolding, shuttering, propping or pit propping failed to regain its momentum.

Average prices varied somewhat amongst the major importing countries. In 2018, major importing countries recorded the following prices: in the Netherlands ($2,588 per tonne) and Austria ($2,468 per tonne), while Poland ($1,998 per tonne) and Germany ($2,044 per tonne) were amongst the lowest.

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

Source: IndexBox AI Platform

coronavirus

The Impact of the Coronavirus on U.S. Trade Proceedings

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an undisputed impact on health and travel around the globe during the past two months. It has also stifled trade with China, where it originated. The pressure from tariffs and the ongoing trade war is beginning to shift to pressure from supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus. Importers and manufacturers that source from China have been particularly affected, as have maritime, construction, and global supply chain entities. But as trade with China has taken a hit, how have U.S. agencies handled the administration and enforcement of ongoing proceedings involving China?

Of all U.S. federal agencies with oversight over trade with China, the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) is perhaps the most directly involved. The DOC administers antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing (“CVD”) cases, as well as Section 232 tariffs that target Chinese imports. The Office of the United States Trade Secretary (“USTR”) administers the Section 301 tariffs specifically targeting China.

The virus has had a lesser impact on the administration of Section 232 and Section 301 tariffs because this is handled almost entirely in Washington. However, in AD/CVD cases DOC officials must regularly travel to China to conduct onsite verifications of Chinese producers examined in these proceedings. The DOC is currently overseeing nearly 200 ongoing AD/CVD cases against China. Of these, new investigations require verifications, and in the remaining annual reviews the DOC must verify Chinese producers at least once every three years. Each verification takes at minimum a week and involves two or three officials. That adds up to significant travel to China during an average year.

So how has the DOC been mitigating the impact of the virus on its ability to administer trade remedy proceedings? For one, many AD/CVD verifications have been put on hold indefinitely due to health concerns and because major airlines have suspended flights to China. This can be good or bad depending on which side of the case one is (i.e., U.S. companies that brought the cases vs. the importers that have to pay the duties). If the case is likely to result in high margins, importers and their Chinese suppliers would likely want verification so that they can personally prove to DOC officials that they are not dumping and do not receive illegal subsidies. On the other hand, if the AD/CVD margins are projected to be low, then U.S. producers may want the Chinese producers verified, and conversely the latter would prefer not to be audited.

The DOC has also been generous about granting extensions for submissions to Chinese respondents in AD/CVD cases. The agency recognizes that responses to its questionnaires require access to information which has been difficult for Chinese employees to access. Many of them are in quarantined areas and unable to get to work, let alone respond to DOC’s requests. Chinese legal counsel and accountants that regularly support respondents in DOC’s proceedings also are less able to reach their clients.

The DOC may even consider a less conventional approach – tolling of AD/CVD cases. Tolling would allow for ongoing proceedings to be paused or delayed. There is little precedent for such action in response to a foreign emergency or crisis. The DOC last tolled deadlines in its proceedings during the U.S. government shutdown in January 2019. But that was necessitated by domestic federal government concerns. With the coronavirus, a close comparison could be made to the 2004 Asian tsunami crisis, but that event did not necessitate tolling of DOC’s AD/CVD cases involving shrimp from Thailand and India whose seafood industries were decimated.

The DOC has the discretion to toll its deadlines. However, an action that changes AD/CVD duties would require Congressional approval. Hence pleas for a reduction in such duties would face an uphill effort and encounter resistance from domestic producers (as it did when Thailand asked to have dumping duties on its shrimp reduced after the tsunami).

Although the coronavirus itself appears to have become a non-tariff barrier, the Trump Administration has given no indication of backing off its trade deal reached with China in January. Under the agreement, China promised to increase purchases of U.S. crops and meat products by $20 billion in 2020 in exchange for a reduction or delay on current tariffs. Indeed, in late February, USTR Robert Lighthizer and Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue insisted that the Administration will hold China accountable for its commitments, even as the outbreak disrupts global supply lines.

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*Mark Ludwikowski is the leader of the International Trade practice of Clark Hill, PLC and is resident in the firm’s Washington D.C. office. He can be reached at 202-640-6680 and mludwikowski@ClarkHill.com