U.S. ports urge end to trade tensions with China

The Port of Los Angeles tells the USTR that consequences of a prolonged trade battle may be severe

By ·

When the seminar for “Port Governing Boards” convened in San Francisco this week, there was considerable discussion about U.S.-China trade tensions and the implications for our nation’s leading ocean cargo gateways. 

, AAPA’s President and Chief Executive Officer, noted in his opening remarks that he’d later be expanding on his views on this volatile subject when he addresses the United States Trade Representative on June 21st. 

“AAPA is concerned about the overall impact of additional Chinese tariffs on port-related jobs, as well as specific concerns related to ship-to-shore cranes and cargo handling equipment used at ports,” he says, noting that ports are on the front line of the ongoing U.S. trade policy uncertainty. 

His comments reiterate last year’s List 3 hearing testimony and emphasize “the veritable tsunami” of this latest list, List 4, which impacts nearly every product imported into the United States from China. 

“The expanded 301 tariffs on cargo moving through ports will have significant consequences,” he says. “The total Section 301 tariffs on Chinese commodities and China’s retaliatory responses to date would cover 8.4 percent of trade through America’s ports by value.”

In California alone, the impact could be as much as 20 percent of containerized cargo imported throughout the state, representing $63.6 billion in trade value. Job loss and economic harm can be expected in the maritime sector and throughout the U.S. supply chain that ports support. 

Indeed, earlier this week Eugene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told the USTR that the prolonged tariffs on trade with China may cause shippers to source goods from other countries, thereby shifting container vessels away from the U.S. West Coast. 

Seroka will be paying a visit the San Francisco Bay Area when the stages is annual “Ports and Terminals Luncheon” next week. 

The title of his talk is "Growing A Global Gateway: Trade, Technology, and Sustainability at the Port of Los Angeles,"  but we suspect that he’ll be sharing his views on larger macro-economic issues facing all Pacific Rim shippers this Peak Season. 

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [ protected]

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