Chinese machinery traders have started feeling the pain of tariffs and the unsettled trade disputes between China and the U.S. with sharp business declines in the first quarter.
Several traders at the iconic Canton Fair, which opened Monday, told Caixin that their first-quarter orders and shipments declined between 10% and 30% because of the trade frictions.
Machinery is the biggest catalogue of China’s foreign trade, covering a wide range of products including mechanical and electronic products. Machinery products accounted for 52% of China’s total exports last year and 59% of total imports.
The U.S. is the biggest customer for China’s machinery exports with about 20%, followed by the European Union, official data showed. Machinery products have also been the main targets of the tariff fight between the two countries since the trade war escalated last summer.
Analysts said traders rushed to deliver orders during the second half of 2018 to avoid potential new tariffs, pushing up last year’s machinery exports by 10.6%. The industry has since started to feel the pinch as the effects of the tariffs take hold.