US President Donald Trump’s tariffs imposed on Chinese goods are driving some American manufacturing out of China, but a significant amount remains outside of the United States, US government data shows.
Rather than boost US factories, a number of other countries, particularly China’s neighbors, are benefiting from Washington’s trade war against Beijing, according to data released on Thursday by the US Census Bureau.
US imports from China decreased 12 percent during the first four months of 2019, compared to last year, but imports from Vietnam increased 38 percent during the same period, the government data shows.
Imports have also increased by 22 percent from Taiwan, 17 percent from South Korea, and 13 percent from Bangladesh.
The Census data suggests that US importers are finding ways to purchase from suppliers in that region.
Tariffs are paid by importers, who can choose to eat the costs or pass them on to consumers, though in some cases overseas manufacturers cut their prices, too.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that his tariffs will push US manufacturers to bring production back to America, a core promise during his election campaign.
“The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!,” he tweeted this week.
However, the US president acknowledged that his trade wars are driving manufacturing elsewhere.
“Also, the Tariffs can be completely avoided if you buy from a non-Tariffed Country, or you buy the product inside the USA (the best idea). That’s Zero Tariffs. Many Tariffed companies will be leaving China for Vietnam and other such countries in Asia. That’s why China wants to make a deal so badly!” Trump tweeted last month.
Even before Trump began imposing tariffs, some production was moving out of China because of increasing labor wages there. US imports from countries like Vietnam and South Korea have been steadily increasing over the past decade.