The ongoing trade war between China and the United States is forcing exporters to use third countries in order to bypass steep duties.
The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Chinese exports to the U.S. dropped by 12 percent in the first quarter of the year, though, exports of machinery, electrical equipment and some other products have shown particularly sharp declines, shipments of such goods from China to the U.S. through Vietnam, Taiwan and Mexico rose during the same period, however.
It is possible that the roundabout exports are faking the origin of products in order to avoid tariffs from the countries.
Nikkei reports that China's exports to the U.S. have dropped significantly because of the tariffs. However, exports from China to developing countries and from developing countries to the U.S. have climbed.
In January-March 2019, Nikkei found that exports of machinery and parts; electrical equipment and parts; furniture; toys and automotive equipment and parts from China to Vietnam rose by 20 percent, while exports of the five items from Vietnam to the U.S. jumped 58 percent. In addition, exports of the items from China to Taiwan jumped 23 percent while exports from Taiwan to the U.S. increased 31 percent.
These numbers come as some companies began moving their supply chains or have reduced direct exports to the U.S.
Changing trade flows have Asian countries worried that the U.S. might take up the issue of roundabout exports with them, Nikkei reports. Though, changes in trade structures may change further if the trade war between the two countries continue.
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