Chinese manufacturers return to China leaving ‘inefficient’ Vietnam.

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According to the South China Morning Post, some Chinese manufacturers that relocated to Vietnam due to the tariffs placed on imports to the US, are moving back to China or exploring manufacturing options in Thailand, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The SCMP article quotes a factory manager who said differences in culture (no over time in Vietnam and lower skill labor force) were two main causes of delays in delivery times and poor production numbers. With the tariffs in place, this has increased the demand for land and labor in Vietnam, causing costs to also increase. As foreigners cannot own land in Vietnam, there is also a risk for Chinese manufacturers to partner with a Vietnamese counterpart. Another factor leading to increased manufacturing costs for Chinese companies are the stricter labor and environmental protections, causing many Chinese companies to face fines for violations.

The current trade situation in Vietnam and US tariffs are forcing some manufacturers to look towards Thailand – attractive because of the stable political situation but high labor costs; Bangladesh which is relatively unknown to Chinese manufacturers and Myanmar which has low labor costs, but Myanmar faces sanctions due to their human rights abuses.

While not discussed in the SCMP article, the other big problem for Chinese manufacturers is the issue of how long the US 301 duties will remain in place. Just as spontaneously as the 301 duties were put in place, the 301 duties can also spontaneously end at the discretion of President Trump. I believe this unpredictability is the main question Chinese manufacturers must answer before spending the money and dedicating the time, resources, and manpower needed to move production to a foreign country.

If you have any questions regarding country of origin and how to avoid tariffs by moving production to other countries besides China, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

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