Associated Press A woman pulls a two-wheel trolley loaded with goods touches a bull statue on display outside a retail and wholesale clothing mall in Beijing. Many in China have already begun to feel the effects of the looming trade war.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018 1:00 am
Chinese exporters feeling pinch
Many say Trump tariffs biting into American orders
JOE McDONALD | Associated Press
BEIJING – Chinese exporters were scrambling Monday to cope with a plunge in U.S. sales while China's state press shrugged off the impact of Washington's tariff hikes in a spiraling technology dispute.
The impact of Friday's tariff hikes on the world's second-largest economy should be limited, according to private sector analysts. But President Donald Trump's measures targeting Chinese medical, construction and factory equipment hit exporters that say price-conscious American customers have stopped buying.
The general manager of a medical device exporter that makes 15 to 20 percent of its sales to the United States said he plans to fly there this week to negotiate with customers who stopped ordering its syringes and other equipment.
Wuxi Yushou Medical Devices Co., Ltd., with a workforce of 500, stands to lose $4.5 to $6 million in annual revenue, according to the manager, Miao Liping.
Without new orders, “I will suspend making the products,” said Miao. “It is not easy for us to compete with low-end products in other countries.”
Other exporters of goods from kitchen appliances and lighting to toys and tools have reported similar drops in U.S. orders.
The state press tried to downplay the impact on China, emphasizing what Beijing says will be the bigger blow to American consumers who will pay more for Chinese goods.
China can find other suppliers for soybeans and other American goods hit by its own retaliatory tariffs, state media said.
“Added tariffs basically have no effect on companies,” the chairman of one of China's biggest chemical companies, state-owned Sinochem Group, Ning Gaoning, told the website aweb.com.
Despite official bravado, the conflict adds to mounting economic challenges for Beijing.
Growth already was cooling after regulators tightened controls last year on bank lending to cool surging debt. That spooked investors, who have driven the main stock market index down 21 percent from its Jan. 24 peak.
Trump raised tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.
More broadly, American officials worry Chinese government plans such as “Made in China 2025,” which calls for creating competitors in robots, biotech, artificial intelligence and other fields, might erode U.S. technology leadership and prosperity.
Beijing retaliated for the U.S. move by hiking tariffs on American goods including soybeans, whiskey and electric cars.