What We're Reading: Trendwatch Week 40

Fed up with US trade tactics, Europe eyes its own escalation

Europe’s relationship with the U.S. has been stretched to the limit by President Donald Trump’s “America First’’ foreign policy. But disputes about aircraft subsidies and auto tariffs coming to a head over the next two months could put the allies in a trade war.

And while transatlantic relations have been fraying since Trump came to office more than two years ago, the European Union’s political calculus has changed, with the bloc considering taking a more aggressive stance toward the U.S., according to officials familiar with the EU strategy.

Source: Supply Chain Brain


Coalition of shippers and carriers seeks zero-emission ocean shipping

This announcement comes just over three months before IMO's new low-sulfur regulations take effect. On Jan. 1, 2020, ships must comply with a sulfur emissions limit of 0.5% mass by mass, down from the current threshold of 3.5%.

"I am confident that the implementation date on 1 January 2020 will be managed smoothly," IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said in a speech earlier this month in London.

Source: Supply Chain Dive


US, Japan reach initial trade deal to lower tariffs on agricultural goods

A tentative agreement between the U.S. and Japan was reached in August, but disagreement over tariffs on Japanese autos delayed it until now, USA Today reported. Although that element is still not resolved, sufficient progress was made on agricultural exports to potentially assist U.S. farmers who lost market share after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January 2017.

Source: Supply Chain Dive


WTO "sharply downgrades" trade forecast for 2019-2020

The World Trade Organization announced Tuesday that it has "sharply downgraded" its trade forecast for 2019-2020, citing rising trade tensions and a slowing global economy. 

In an advisory the WTO's economists predicted that merchandise trade growth would come in at 1.2 percent for 2019, less than half of the expected 2.6 percent forecast issued in April. The forecast for this year contains considerable variability and downside risk: trade growth could fall below 0.5 percent if trade tensions continue to rise, or could even exceed 1.6 percent if tensions begin to recede. The uncertainties are "heavily weighted to the downside and dominated by trade policy," WTO warned. 

Source: The Maritime Executive


China buys 1 million tons of US soy after tariff waivers

Chinese companies purchased U.S. soybeans after the government issued more waivers for retaliatory-tariff free imports, according to people familiar with the situation.

Both state-owned and privately run firms purchased between 12 and 15 cargoes, or as much as 1 million tons, of the commodity, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Some of the cargoes will be for loading in January, one of the people said.

Source: American Journal of Transportation


Peel Ports confirms details of government Brexit funding

The ports of Liverpool, Heysham and Sheerness (London Medway) have received funding to enhance measures they have already taken to improve resilience ahead of the UK’s expected departure from the EU on 31 October.

The funding was announced yesterday (26 September) by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Source: American Journal of Transportation