U.S. goods imports from China fell 25 percent during the first six months of 2023, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday, as companies looked to other countries to de-risk and diversify their supply chains amid rising friction between Washington and Beijing.
The sharp decline in 2023 — one year after Russia’s war in Ukraine highlighted the close partnership between Moscow and Beijing — could mark a turning point where rising geopolitical tensions finally persuaded many American companies of the need to find other suppliers. The Biden administration and Congress have imposed new trade restrictions on China in recent years, ranging from export restrictions on U.S. microchips and other high-tech items that could fuel Beijing’s military to new scrutiny of Chinese-made clothing imports because of human rights violations
“There’s a lot at play here, but I do think for the most part companies are really trying to move away,” said Beth Hughes, vice president trade and customs policy at the American Apparel and Footwear Association, a trade association that represents U.S. companies, many of which manufacture products in China. “They hear the message from Congress and the administration.”
“Americans bought a lot of new TV sets and replaced a lot of their wardrobes and now they’re tapped out for a bit,” said Ed Gresser, a former economist at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office now at the Progressive Policy Institute think tank.
For some sophisticated technology products, such as laptops and computers, the trade data indicates that other countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan India and Mexico have increased their exports to the United States while China has lost sales, said Gresser…..