Trade Policy

News and analysis of trade policy such as free trade agreements and changes to tariff regimes around the world. 

Commentary

Following a philosophy of short-term pain for long-term gain, a series of US actions have been taken against China regarding what is seen as its unfair trade practices, particularly as relates to intellectual property rights. Here's what you need to know.

News & Analysis

Home construction in Texas, United States.
11 Aug 2018
Backers of tariffs always promise positive results for the domestic economy. But tariffs were tried by the United States and many other nations in the early stages of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Now how did that work out?
Intermdoal rail.
08 Aug 2018
Containers were one of only five items among the original 284 items granted a reprieve by the US working group consisting of nearly a dozen federal agencies.
Plastic waste for recycling.
02 Aug 2018
As of now, scrap/agriculture exporters and ocean carriers are in two parallel universes concerning whether space exists on ships heading to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Port of New York and New Jersey container ship.
27 Jul 2018
Although trade tensions between the United States and the European Union and their impact have been muted so far in 2018, trade stakeholders know that could change dramatically and quickly.
Intermodal containers on a train in the US.
25 Jul 2018
Tariffs on containers are unwarranted and will needlessly raise costs throughout the supply chain, business leaders testifying on Capitol Hill agreed.
A container ship at sea.
24 Jul 2018
Despite strong demand, the Hong Kong-based firm said Friday that increases in material costs, particularly corten steel, accounted for a marginal interim net loss for the first half of 2018, compared with a $16.6 million profit for the same period in 2017.
The Port of Los Angeles.
12 Jul 2018
Although the impact would be significant elsewhere, one port complex in the United States has the most to lose — and in a big way — by a protracted, major trade war between the world's two largest economies.
Antwerp port.
12 Jul 2018
After a mixed performance in 2017, Europe’s top breakbulk ports face a complicated 2018, despite above-trend European GDP growth, due to the threat posed by tariffs and the reinstatement of sanctions against Iran.
A container ship at sea.
09 Jul 2018
Ocean carriers want to avoid being caught up in secondary sanctions that will be imposed by the United States on companies dealing with Iran.
John Wiehoff.
28 Jun 2018
Supply chain experts at the SM3 Connections 2018 conference are taking a focus-on-what-one-can control stance, while also counting on more-constructive policies in the years ahead that are likely to support the decades-long globalization trend.
A soybean farm in Kansas, United States.
25 Jun 2018
The immediate impact of lost export opportunities because of retaliation by US trading partners to the Trump administration’s tariffs is a major, negative development for US businesses. Even so, the longer-term damage from the erosion of the US’s reputation as a reliable supplier of agricultural products should really concern beneficial cargo owners, ag exporters have been told.
Port of Felixstowe.
25 Jun 2018
The UK logistics sector is becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of post-Brexit trade system progress. While other EU states are recruiting extra customs officials at their leading ports, including Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Calais, the British government has yet to unveil its spending plans to ease post-Brexit traffic through the country’s key shipping hubs.
A soybean farm in Brazil.
22 Jun 2018
Brazil has displaced the United States as the top soy exporter, and it won’t be long before it moves ahead of the United States as the world’s leading corn exporter.
A potato field in Idaho, United States.
22 Jun 2018
Two can play at the tariff game, as trade analysts warned, and US agriculture exporters will be hurt disproportionately by US trading partners’ initial retaliatory tariffs.
20 Jun 2018
Shippers, carriers, and other participants in the supply chain are closely watching the US/China tariff volleys, but they say the effect on the market so far has been minimal, although that could change.
Container ship near the Port of Newcastle, Australia.
15 Jun 2018
China Merchants’ purchase of a stake in the Port of Newcastle, Australia’s largest east coast port, would be its first in Oceania. However, the dealoccurs at a time of increased political and trade tension between the strong-performing Asian economies.
Port of Oakland.
14 Jun 2018
With manufacturing sectors in both nations in a strong uptrend, and China’s middle class expanding while US consumer spending is recovering after a long hiatus, only a full-bore trade war could deflect accelerating container trade between the two economic giants.
Port of Shanghai Yangshan deepwater port.
31 May 2018
Starting Friday, China Customs will require manifest submissions 24 hours prior to loading, or risk missing the intended sailing. One supply chain director called the order nothing new, but another called it a non-tariff barrier deployed mainly against the United States, but also Europe.
Apples being prepared for shipment.
21 May 2018
The European Union and India announced their retaliation for US tariffs on steel and aluminum as the Trump Administration sent contradictory signals regarding its stance on tariffs and China.
Port of Los Angeles.
08 May 2018
Cost pressures and consumer preferences can change vehicle demand in a hurry. However, there’s another variable that can change it — and harm it — even faster.
Steel loaded onto a truck from a ship.
10 Apr 2018
Breakbulk carriers and shippers hope the threatened US steel tariffs are merely a negotiating tactic, but if they prove to be more than that an incipient US-China trade war would occur just as the industry appears to be on the verge of a recovery from a long slump.
Port of Los Angeles.
05 Apr 2018
Neither country has listed a deadline for tariff implementation, hence the situation remains dynamic and fluid. However, key analysts are formulating worst-case scenarios.
Port of New Orleans.
03 Apr 2018
Steel and aluminum are important cargoes at US ports on the Gulf, East, and West coasts and the Great Lakes.
Port of Los Angeles.
23 Mar 2018
China’s planned tariffs will initially affect US containerized exports, but an escalation could produce a wider impact.
Bayonne Bridge (new).
15 Mar 2018
The bulk of regional economic fundamentals indicate a strong year is ahead for container trade, GDP growth, earnings growth, and job creation — with all of the positives that implies for lateral sectors and society.
A port in Thailand.
14 Mar 2018
The accelerated growth in intra-regional trade volumes as a result of the agreement is expected to provide a further boost to intra-Asia container trades already on an upward trend as Asia-based manufacturing increasingly serves Asian consumers.
The Port of Los Angeles.
06 Mar 2018
US exports are on a growth track, but export expansion could be derailed or slowed if the United States enters a trade war.
Aluminum cans stacked.
02 Mar 2018
The ports are concerned that tariffs will lower steel and aluminum imports and invite retaliation that will undermine exports of US products.
The Port of Veracruz.
01 Mar 2018
Economists say the eastward drift in Mexico’s volume is partly due to the expanded Panama Canal opening, enabling ships of up to 14,000 TEU to traverse the waterway, but also due to the improved economic situation in Europe.
Mexico City, Mexico.
19 Feb 2018
To cite the late, great writer Mark Twain, the reports of the North American Free Trade Agreement’s death are greatly exaggerated. Shippers and transportation providers looking past the noise of mainstream reporting see reason for optimism in 2018 for the world's largest trilateral trade pact.
25 Jan 2018
The Mexican Federal Competition Commission, the report-issuing body, declined to comment on the release date but issued a statement saying the agency is still going through the steps set out by Mexican regulations for such investigations.
23 Jan 2018
The Trump administration announced the tariffs Monday in response to complaints from US-based manufacturers that foreign competition was unfairly flooding the US market with cheap imports.
17 Jan 2018
One question that is definitely on the minds of shippers, especially transportation, is if the UK’s post-Brexit trade agreements will stimulate or dampen the growing Europe/UK economies.
Politics clouds outlook for breakbulk steel shipments
12 Jan 2018
There is hope for the steel sector in the form of a macroeconomic tailwind: beneath the fog of politics, steel trade volume depends on underlying demand, which analysts predict will rise modestly in 2018.
09 Jan 2018
China last year announced bans on imports of certain types of scrap products from all countries in order to reduce the harmful effect of contaminated waste products.