Exports from the US to China of the manufactured goods included in the Phase One agreement between the two countries reached USD 31.1 billion in the first nine months of the year. This is just 40% of the USD 78.4 billion commitment under the agreement.
In September, USD 3.6 billion worth of the manufactured goods were exported, a decline from the record USD 4.1 billion in August, but still considerably above 2019 values, and above the values of 2017, which is the baseline year upon which the agreement was built.
In the first nine months of 2020, exports of the manufactured goods included in the agreement are up 4.5% compared with 2019, but down 1.4% from the same period in 2017. To meet the obligations under the agreement, exports will therefore need to rise 72% in 2020 as a whole compared to 2017. In other words, USD 15.8 billion worth of exports must be realised every month of October, November and December to comply.
Most of the manufactured goods included in the Phase One agreement are containerised, with the USD 31.1 billion worth of exports realised in the first nine months of the year amounting to 7 million seaborne tonnes. This equals a 1.3 million tonne increase from the first nine months of 2019 and a 3.1 million tonne decline compared with the same period in 2017.
The energy and agricultural groups of goods included in the agreement are also far from reaching the goal. Energy goods fall 21.7% short while agricultural good fall 37.9% short. Combining all three categories – manufactured goods, energy and agricultural goods – exports have risen 2.4% in the first nine months of the year, compared with the same period in2019. Still, only 35.8% of the total commitments have been reached.
“BIMCO has always believed the targets were unachievable, but every additional volume shipped has been welcome, particularly when it comes to dry bulk and energy goods,” says Peter Sand, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst.
“The extra containerised goods resulting from the effort to comply with the agreement don’t bring as much of a boost as dry bulk and energy, because the extra containerised volumes are on the backhaul of the transpacific trade rather than the money making and capacity setting fronthaul,” Sand says.