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Malmstrom's €6.1B Brexit threat; Lighthizer's open door to a steel deal

The Supply Chain Daily provides a curated overview of Panjiva's research and insights covering global trade policy, the logistics sector and industrial supply chains.

Malmstrom's €6.1B Brexit threat hits autos, apparel hardest
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has stated that tariffs will be applied to U.K. exports "from Day 1 if there is a hard Brexit" and some will be "very high." The EU accounted for 48.8% of British exports in 2018 with no duties applied. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, and until a trade deal is signed between the two, British exports may be subject to duties at the EU's World Trade Organization rates.

On the basis of the WTO tariffs and EU data for 2017 exports from the U.K. to the bloc, a no-deal Brexit could lead to €6.06 billion in duties being applied to British exports to the EU.

The largest product group is autos, which would face a 10% average rate and €1.52 billion of duties for exporters including BMW and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. The next largest group is apparel and footwear, with duties of 862 million at a 12% rate, followed by jet engines with 217 million. The latter is only equivalent to a 2.7% tariff rate, though Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC and Airbus SE face supply chain complications aside from tariffs.

(Panjiva Research - Policy)

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Lighthizer's open door to a steel deal could unlock a USMCA deal
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has indicated a deal could be agreed shortly to cut section 232 metals duties on exports from Mexico and Canada. The agreement would likely take the form of quotas rather than tariffs. That, in turn, could unlock the potential for ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, particularly if it was adapted to include the quotas.

The tariffs have proven to be little deterrent to Mexican steel and aluminum exporters. There was a 16.0% year-over-year increase in Mexican exports to the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2018 and by 10.1% in January. Tenaris SA and ArcelorMittal increased their deliveries in January by 44.4% and 12.2%, respectively, while Ternium SA reduced its shipments. Any sign of a quota deal could lead to an acceleration of exports to the U.S. in the near term.

(Panjiva Research - Metals & Mining)

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Everglades dries up as US port activity slows
U.S. port activity slipped in February with total containerized freight imports falling 3.4% year over year due to reduced shipments from China and Europe. The Port of Long Beach recorded the fastest decline among the major ports with a 15.3% drop, from a 0.5% decrease in the prior three months on average. By contrast, the Port Authority of NY/NJ's volumes increased 8.3% year over year in February as congestion issues were brought under control.

Port Everglades was the worst-performing second tier port after a 22.8% year-over-year slump in volumes in February. Use of the port by MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA and A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S fell 50.3% while Crowley Maritime Corp.'s traffic fell 40.2%. The three shipping lines together accounted for 60.4% of Port Everglades' volumes in 2018. Port Everglades may lose out further to Tampa and Jacksonville, which are bringing on new services and investing heavily in growth, respectively.

(Panjiva Research - Logistics)

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Panama Canal shrugs off Trans-Pacific shipping slowdown
Shipping activity through the Panama Canal grew 2.2% year over year in February, with an increase in shipments of the large Neopanamax vessels increasing 6.8%. The marked slowdown in U.S. imports in February does not appear to have had an impact on the Canal's operations yet. While U.S. imports from the largest eight Asian exporting markets fell 6.6% in February, shipments to ports east of the Canal increased 1.2%. Growth in shipments to the East Coast ports has outpaced that to the west in nine of the past 12 months. That indicates shipping lines are continuing to take advantage of the shorter delivery times enabled by the Canal.

(Panjiva Research - Logistics)

Nissan terminates Infiniti production in the UK
Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will terminate production of its Infiniti range in the U.K. following disappointing sales of the brand in Europe. That comes amid a wider decline in U.K. automotive exports to the EU that saw a 6.7% year-over-year drop in shipments in the 12 months to Nov. 30, 2018. At the powertrain level, that was led by a 27.5% slump in diesel-powered vehicles. Nissan will presumably also restructure its global supply chain to replace Infiniti vehicles shipped to the U.S. from the U.K. Shipments of such vehicles had already fallen by 27.2% year over year in 2018.

(Panjiva Research - Autos)

Christopher Rogers is a senior researcher at Panjiva, which is part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. This content does not constitute investment advice, and the views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The Supply Chain Daily has an editorial deadline of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current at the time of publication. S&P Global Market Intelligence is not responsible if those links are unavailable later.