The US-China trade war is creating winners out of Brazil, Australia, Mexico and Canada

An aerial photograph of 18 tractors reaping a soybean field

The US-China trade war continues to accelerate. America has put 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports, and is slated to add an additional 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion. China currently collects tariffs between 5% and 50% on about $113 billion of US imports.

Some worry about the long-term negative effects the trade war could have on the global economy, but in the short term, the bi-lateral tariff fight has brought benefits to many other countries.

Quartz analyzed the trade flows of product categories affected by the Chinese and US tariffs. The data show that the winner of the US-China trade war so far is neither the US or China. It’s third-party countries like Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada who have stepped in to the void and found new buyers in the US and China.

The US’s happy suppliers

Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Canada all saw significant increases in exports to the US following the US taxes on Chinese goods.

China’s happy suppliers

Australia, Switzerland, Brazil, Hong Kong, and Canada saw their exports to mainland China increase.

The biggest combined winners of the US-China trade war

 

#1 Australia

Australia has been the biggest beneficiary of the trade war. The value of its exports to the US and China in tariff affected categories grew more than any other country over the year we analyzed.

Most of the increase has been from exports of natural resources to China. With China imposing tariffs on imports of petroleum gases and gold from the US, Australia has been filling the gap for China.

The Chinese imports of Australian cotton saw strong growth, as US cotton exports to China declined.

#2 Switzerland

Similar to Australia, Switzerland dramatically increased its gold exports to China.

Switzerland also increased its exports to US, though to a smaller extent. It exported an additional $25 million of electronic devices during the period analyzed, while Chinese exports to the US in that category dropped by $190 million.

#3 Mexico

Mexico has replaced China as the US’s largest trading partner in the first half of 2019.

The US now buys more data processing and storage devices as well as electric wire and fiber optic cables from Mexico. Both of those categories would be under 25% tariffs if they were manufactured in China.

#4 Brazil

Brazil has benefitted from the reduced US agricultural exports to China. Now China goes to Brazil for soybeans and cotton.

#5 Canada

Canada has seen its exports to both US and China grow since tariffs kicked in. Canadian computer chips and circuit boards as well as industrial molds are replacing Chinese ones in the US market.

Canadians are also selling more soybeans to China than before, though that still pales in comparison to the drop in US purchases.

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