U.S. imports from China surge in 2020 despite tariffs, pandemic: media

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Despite the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. imports from China are surging as the year 2020 draws to a close, The New York Times reported on Monday.

“The surge in imports is another byproduct of the coronavirus, with Americans channeling money they might have spent on vacations, movies and restaurant dining to household items like new lighting for home offices, workout equipment for basement gyms, and toys to keep their children entertained,” the report said.

Trade data for the first 10 months of this year, compiled from United States Customs data by IHS Markit, shows that American imports of consumer electronics, masks and other personal protection equipment from China have been strong amid the pandemic, according to the report.

In November, Chinese exports to the United States climbed 46.1 percent to a record 51.98 billion U.S. dollars, the report noted.

The surge in U.S. imports from China “has defied the expectations of American politicians of both parties,” who earlier this year predicted that the pandemic would be a moment for reducing trade with China and finally bringing factories back to the United States, the report said.

The report found that “there is little sign that global supply chains are returning to the United States” despite the Trump administration’s tariffs on more than 360 billion U.S. dollars worth of Chinese imports.

Instead, the prolonged effects of the pandemic on the United States “appear to have only reinforced” China’s manufacturing position, the report said.

“Overall, China’s quick economic recovery and its dominance as a source for products that Americans have turned to during the pandemic have outweighed the dampening effect of Trump’s tariffs,” Mary E. Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, was quoted by The New York Times as saying.

Jay Foreman, chief executive of the toy company Basic Fun!, also told The New York Times that he considered moving some operations to Vietnam or India, like many toymakers did amid the trade wars last year, but “staying in China ended up to be the best move.”

“China still has the best production supply chain of anybody in the world, and as it turned out, they were able to tackle the pandemic faster and more efficiently than anybody else,” he said.

The report came after China’s General Administration of Customs recently announced that China’s foreign trade expanded 7.8 percent year on year in November, with exports jumping 14.9 percent from a year earlier.

In the first 11 months of the year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations remained China’s largest trading partner, followed by the European Union and the United States, according to the administration.

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