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China no Longer Top U.S. Supplier, a First in 17 Years

Nikkei Chinese Edition recently reported that U.S. imports from China during the period January to November, 2023, decreased by more than 20 percent compared with the same period in 2022. Although import data for December 2023 have not yet been released, it seems highly probably that U.S. imports from Mexico will surpass imports from China for the calendar year 2023.

There is a clear trend in the United States of “friend-shoring,” i.e. changing the source of imports from China to other countries who are more closely aligned with the U.S. This trend of relocating supply chains has been particularly rapid in categories of imports such as electronic products, previously highly dependent on imports from China. In terms of smartphones, imports from China decreased 10 percent year-over-year during the period from January to November. Meanwhile, electronic product imports from India expanded by a factor of five. For laptop computers, U.S. imports from China decreased by about 30 percent, while imports from Vietnam’s increased by a factor of four.

In 2023, U.S. imports from Europe and Southeast Asia increased, and imports from the European Union (EU) hit a new high during the period January to November, 2023. Although the import volume from ASEAN countries decreased year-over-year, this year’s imports from the ASEAN region were still the second highest in history, with the share of imports from ASEAN countries double that of 10 years ago.

In order to mitigate geopolitical risks, multinational corporations have widely adopted a “China + 1” strategy, diversifying their supply chains to avoid overreliance on China.

Source: Nikkei Chinese, January 10, 2024