US Buyers Unfazed by Trump’s Potential Trade Policy; Panicked Chinese Firms Look to Expand Elsewhere

US Buyers Unfazed by Trump’s Potential Trade Policy; Panicked Chinese Firms Look to Expand Elsewhere

Guo Liqin

Date: Thu, 04/27/2017 - 17:50 / source:Yicai
US Buyers Unfazed by Trump’s Potential Trade Policy; Panicked Chinese Firms Look to Expand Elsewhere
US Buyers Unfazed by Trump’s Potential Trade Policy; Panicked Chinese Firms Look to Expand Elsewhere

(Yicai Global) April 27 -- America-China trade has been under the spotlight since US President Donald Trump took office, however at the China Import and Export Commodities Fair, better known as Canton Fair, active American firms seemed immune to the political and economic landscape between the two nations, with Chinese businessmen far more concerned about US trade policy.

During the fair, which is seen as an indicator of how foreign trade is developing in China, Yicai Global interviewed a number of US buyers, who were all unaffected by the potential effect of Trump’s trade policies, which they felt had no bearing on their purchase decisions. With their companies facing bright prospects in China, they all claimed their order plans here would remain unchanged.

Exchange rate and tariff policies could exert huge influence over China’s exports to the US in the short term. However, during the interviews, American businessmen seemed more concerned with factors such as the internet.

A shift in political leadership makes little difference to the big picture in business, said Jack O’ Brien, founder of the US Homestyles Sales and Market. Even if the Trump administration went too far, a corresponding counterbalance would emerge. “The general public has no need to be overanxious, because politicians need a route to highlight their importance. In the end, commercial power will defeat political rhetoric,” he said.

The US and China are closely related, O’ Brien said, based on experience. China holds a host of US Treasury securities and the US is a big buyer of Chinese products. There’s a mutual counterbalance between the two sides and their powers can strike a balance, instead of ending up with absolute dominance on one side, he added. Admittedly, some trivial conflicts may be unavoidable, but major clashes would not be in the interests of either nation.

“What truly matters to business lies in more powerful issues, like local wars. If the world economy was plagued by this, every would suffer,” he continued. “Trade may be subdued temporarily over political issues, but trade would not stop. After all, we need it to survive, and politicians are keenly aware of this.”

Nothing will happen, all of this is just a show, said Keith Kibilosk from the southern American state of Virginia. Some 100 days have passed now, but trump has done nothing apart from tweet and make speeches. “Has the America-Mexico border wall been built? Has Obamacare been blocked? We may eventually see changes, but it needs much more than 100 days.”

Chinese manufacturers at the fair were noticeably more concerned about Trump’s policies than their American customers.

Considering nearly of Zhejiang Supor Co.’s income comes from the US, its international marketing director for the cooking utensils unit, Weng Linsheng, pays close attention to Trump’s policies. Weng believes that the uncertainty in the US market could cause exports to slide in the next six months, so his firm has started to actively expand to other markets, including Norway and Denmark.

Both the quantity and quality of new customers exceeded the expectations of Yang Chongyi, vice general manager of Zhejiang Haers Vacuum Containers Co.’s international marketing unit. He’d been worried that if Trump’s policies focused on exchange rates and tariffs, his company would be hit hard.

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Keywords: USA, Consumer, Trade, Canton Fair