Showing posts with label tariffs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tariffs. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Will China Experience a Prolonged Period of Slower Growth?

China's greatest asset to growth was its cheap manufacturing base that drew investment and interest in low cost alternatives. Globalization is stripping China of this advantage as other nations find their own competitive ground. China will need to adjust its economic strategy to help it find sustainable growth that doesn't rely heavily on foreign capital accumulation. Changing their investment policies and encouraging long-term solutions will be more helpful than short-term strategies in the next phase of China's economic life.

China has been known as a great place to produce products because of a business friendly government, lower labor costs, and less environmental restrictions. This cheaper cost alternatives encouraged foreign companies to outsource simple manufacturing of parts to Chinese companies. This create a net influx of foreign dollars that fuel growth over the past couple of decades.

The country's production capacity was based on its ability to partner with outside companies seeking to shave costs. As Chinese industries learned new skills and abilities they developed many of their own products based upon existing product models. A few industries developed advanced models of products but this is still not the mainstream much of China's manufacturing sector.

Now that countries like the U.S. have achieved cost parity due to high technology and productivity improvements the benefits of outsourcing to China have lessened. Therefore, there is downward investment pressure that limits the amount of capital available to Chinese companies. The percentage of companies that have developed independent income streams has improved.

Without the innovative process that comes from a highly skilled and educated workforce Chinese growth is likely to be muted as nations find alternative places to seek resources. This doesn't mean that there is a wholesale disinterest but that such contracts are not as lucrative as in the past and alternative opportunities such as India, U.S. and Eastern Europe are viable options for production.

Think of how the free market works on a macro scale. China went through major economic reforms in 1978 that liberalized and privatized a number of state businesses. Like a hole in the middle of the ocean the capital rushed in and sparked an era of growth capitalizing on a cheap labor supply. It was a nation hungry and ripe for investment. As that hole filled up and costs increased many of the advantages are muted.

China of tomorrow will not grow as fast as it did in the past as alternative investment locations are found and manufacturing parity occurs with other nations. Chinese labor productivity has gained but is running to its limit without mass educational investment that can improve on innovation and technological production. Poor policies that favored pro-Chinese knowledge accumulation at the expense of foreign companies have raised a skeptics eyes to alternative countries with better patent protections.

With an interest rate of around 5% they can reduce that rate to encourage internal growth and development. They may also consider additional infrastructure improvements that connect regions and lower transactional costs. Revamping education to ensure more scientific minds and skilled labor are created can further help in the long run. Changing government policy to open their economy, ensure free and fair transference of knowledge, and focus their investments in high development areas.

The Chinese Tiger has not been netted yet but will need to consider additional reforms that encourage higher levels of growth. Telecommunications, lower shipping costs, and cross-border partnerships are offering cost-quality alternatives to Chinese investment. By reaching out with partners in countries like the U.S. and finding collaborative methods of mutual development with American companies the Chinese companies can further extend their reach.  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Improving Economic Activity Through Tariff Reductions

Trade is at the root of economic development. The easy movement of products and services across borders helps create an interconnected world where opportunities for international goods and companies abound. A paper by Dzerniek-Hanouze & Doherty (2013) discussed the significant advantages that can be found by opening trade routes at a national and regional level to ensure that products and services move smoothly to their destinations. 

All trade is based on selling products from one entity to the next. According to Black’s Law Dictionary Trade is ,”The act or business of exchanging commodities by barter; or the business of buying and selling for money; traffic; barter.” A value laden product must transfer hands from one person to the next while a reciprocal value laden item (i.e. money) is exchanged in return. 

Before revenue can be earned through the selling of products these products must be available and present for purchase. This means that the product is available on store shelves, online, or in the locality for customers to purchase. The buyer and seller must be connected together in some way through virtual or physical means to exchange information, items, or financial value. 

The same process must occur when products and services are built. Available items are used to construct higher level products to earn more on the market. Unnecessary tariffs, restrictions, and levies between suppliers and creators directly reduce the possibilities of further growth and development. This means fewer products are shipped out and less revenue gained. 

The supply chain is the vine that is used to move products and services. When tariffs by importing countries are high it impacts the cost and quantity of those products being moved. As costs increase the likelihood that they will be purchased by locals is reduced; it is a customer equity choice. Tariffs are a direct attempt to damage the supply chain mechanisms. 

Improving the flow of products and services is important in speeding up the economy. For example, improving upon inspections, security technology, communications, and transport can also improve upon the costs of moving these products. Lower costs can often result in improved revenue for companies that rely on imported supplies. 

The concept of economic hubs doesn’t make it exclusively into the paper but the author does indicate that reduced borders increase the spillover effects in management, technological know-how, and access to new technologies that move beyond the goods themselves. The production of products and services enhances the skill and abilities of multiple sectors within the economy. 

The authors offered some interesting statistics. For example, the World Economic Forum, The World Bank and Bain & Co. in 2012 indicated that reducing trade barriers could increase global gross domestic product by $2.6 trillion or 5%.  Ebay also indicated in a study that removing virtual barriers improved small business growth by 60-80%. The end result of their analysis is that if countries moved half-way to best practice there would be a 4.7% GDP increase, a moderate reduction of restrictions would improve GDP 2.6%, and a removal of tariffs would result in a .7% increase in GDP. 

Drzeniek-Hanouz, M. & Doherty, S. (2013). Trade facilitation, international supply chains and SME competitiveness. International Trade Forum, 4