Cargo Business News

October 2011

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Trade Trends 13 By Josh GREEN, CEO, Panjiva, josh@panjiva.com September's decline overshadowed by U.S.-China dispute In September, the number of waterborne shipments coming through U.S. ports declined significantly. Specifically, we saw an 8 percent month-over-month decline. This is larger than last year's month-over-month decline (7 percent). In fact, it compares unfavorably with month-over-month changes from years past: 5 percent decline in 2009, 5 percent decline in 2008, and flat in 2007. In terms of absolute level of trade activity, we're down about 2 percent from where we were this time last year. It's worth underscoring that we would expect to see a decline from August to September; but the magnitude of the decline is "Anyone remember the Smoot-Hawley " Tariff Act? It was quite helpful in tipping the U.S. into a Great Depression. a bit alarming and does not bode well for the first half of next year. In light of this, it's particularly alarming that Congress is picking a fight with China, a key trading partner. This month, Congress passed three new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. But simultaneously, Congress passed a bill that would impose tariffs on some Chinese goods in the event that the U.S. Treasury names China a currency manipulator. At a moment when macroeconomic headwinds are stiff (and global trade is softening), protectionist measures are about the last thing we need. Anyone remember the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act? It was quite helpful in tipping the U.S. into a Great Depression. Here's hoping history doesn't repeat itself. Josh Green is the CEO of Panjiva, an intelligence platform for global trade professionals. He can be reached at josh@panjiva.com. ALSD_15183_CBNMagazine_October_Inland_Ports_Issue_Ad_7-375x5.indd 1 www.cargobusinessnews.com October 20118/22/11 3:08 PM T

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