NRF: Growing US Imports Threatened by Developing Trade War

Imports at major retail container ports in the US are expected to grow 5.8 percent in April, but could be threatened by a developing trade war between the US and China, the National Retail Federation said.

“Tariffs are a tax on American consumers in the form of higher prices but they are also a tax on American jobs,” Jonathan Gold, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy, said.

“If tariffs ultimately lead to a reduction in imports and exports, that will put dockworkers and countless others in the supply chain out of work.”

Port of New York/New Jersey
Image Courtesy: Port of New York/New Jersey

“There is nothing good about a trade war,” Ben Hackett, Hackett Associates Founder, said, adding that it is “a vicious circle of retaliation where there are no winners, only losers.”

Major US ports handled 1.69 million TEUs in February, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. That was down 4.1 percent from January but up 15.8 percent from a year ago.

March was estimated at 1.54 million TEU, down 1.2 percent year-over-year, while April is forecast at 1.72 million TEU, up 5.8 percent from last year.

The first half of 2018 is expected to total 10.4 million TEU, representing an increase of 5.6 percent over the first half of 2017. The total for 2017 was 20.5 million TEU, up 7.6 percent from 2016’s previous record of 19.1 million TEU.

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