US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

 US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

Other Asian economies are intricately linked to China’s fortunes, through their highly connected supply chains. And what hurts Beijing can also hurt countries further afield, like South Korea, Taiwan – or Singapore.

On the outskirts of the central business district in Singapore, the steady hum of machines producing speakers and air fresheners for customers around the region reverberates through one factory.

The business was set up by Joyce Seow’s dad in the 1970s. Poh Eng Seow was a floor manager at the time for a factory run by a multinational firm in the country.

US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

When the multinational pulled out, he decided to keep servicing his Western clients, and started the operation with just seven people on the factory floor.

Today, Watson EP Industries has more than 350 people on its books. It also has factories in China and Vietnam, and an annual turnover of $40m (£31m).

US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

Mr Seow credits opening the facility in China in the early 2000s as the reason for the spectacular growth of his firm.
“To do business in China is an education,” he tells me, chuckling. “You must learn how to do things the right way. Better to hire a local consultant!”

But now China could also be the reason why this family-run firm could be put in jeopardy.

Joyce and her dad have only recently found that the speakers they make in their Chinese factory could see a 25% tariff placed on them when they are sold in the US. Speakers are on the most recent list issued by Washington that targets $200bn worth of Chinese goods.

The tariffs have yet to come into effect – in fact, they are currently only under consideration – but both Joyce and her dad are extremely worried about the impact on their company. More than half of their business in China consists of producing speakers for the US market.

US-China trade war: The countries caught in the crossfire

“We are very disappointed, and in a lot of discomfort in not knowing what lies ahead,” Joyce tells me as she looks through the list of goods.

Source: BBC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *