If you had any doubts that the U.S. and China are joined at the hip, thanks in large part to our biggest brands and an electronics components industry that needs China to make anything, then this report by a firm called Jungle Scout should convince.
Jungle Scout is an online platform that helps locals (and foreigners) sell to the U.S. consumer and U.S. businesses directly through e-commerce platforms like Amazon.
Their 46-page report, released this week, looks at the landscape of U.S. maritime imports between 2015 and 2020 for all countries and industries, and highlights some notable trends, including how Vietnam has become an outpost for lower-skilled manufacturing once done in China and bound for the U.S.
Because these figures are just for shipments arriving here by boat, Canada and Mexico trade is not included.
China accounts for 41% of everything coming into the U.S. by ship. Vietnam is now number two, at 5.5%. Taiwan is number four at 3.7%. When those three intertwined markets are counted as one — 50.2% of everything we import by merchant marine vessel comes to us from those three countries.
According to Jungle Scout, February 2020 imports out of Vietnam grew 24.6% annually compared to a 18.4% average growth for that month throughout 2015- 2019. March 2020 imports grew 32.5% from a year ago compared to a 7.7% average growth rate for that month.
Machinery and electrical components accounted for roughly 20% of all U.S. imports so far this year, ending in April.
Due to the height of the pandemic in China in February and the start of it in the northeast U.S. and in Western Europe in March, imports from most countries feel. April was the month of recovery, led by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Those countries that were able to recover from the impact of early 2020 economic events are the countries faring better later in 2020, Jungle Scout report authors wrote.
China has had the most drastic year-over-year reduction in U.S. imports second only to Hong Kong, due to supply chain shifts caused by the trade war. But by April, China roared back significantly as it was the go-to manufacturing hub for personal protection equipment such as face masks and hospital gowns during the pandemic.