Tags: China | Financial Markets | shipping | exports | agriculture | goods | trade

US Ag Exports Rejected to Send Empty Containers to China

a map of china with scrabble tiles spelling out china usa trade war
(Alain Pitton/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 26 January 2021 04:57 PM

Hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. agriculture products intended for export were rejected in October and November by shipping companies who instead opted to send empty containers to China, where they were supposedly filled with more profitable goods, CNBC reported Tuesday.

The Federal Maritime Commission has launched an investigation following complaints from agricultural exporters, reviewing trade data from key ports in California, New York, and New Jersey, to see whether the refusal to transport what CNBC's estimated to be $632 million worth of products was a violation of the U.S. Shipping Act.

The law makes it illegal to "unreasonably refuse to deal or negotiate," "boycott or take any other concerted action resulting in an unreasonable refusal to deal," or "engage in conduct that unreasonably restricts the use of intermodal services."

The report follows others – such as in The Japan Times – that demand for Chinese goods like computers, face masks, and other work-at-home equipment has surged since July, fueled by lockdowns to mitigate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 in places such as Europe.

In a separate report, CNBC said shipping rates in December were 264% higher than a year ago to Northern Europe and 145% higher to the U.S. West Coast.

CNBC quoted Redwood Logistics CEO Mark Yeager as saying three out of four containers from the United States to Asia were "going back empty. The reason for this is the Chinese are being so aggressive about trying to get empty containers back . . . that it's hard to get a container for U.S. exporters."

An estimated 177,938 containers known as TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) in October and November were rejected by shipping carriers, CNBC said from its analysis of data compiled from the Census Bureau and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, New York, and New Jersey.

Agricultural exporters were notified in October by the shipping companies that empty export containers would be prioritized over agricultural exports. They also were notified there would be price increases on U.S. agricultural exports if they were transported.

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US
Hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. agriculture products intended for export were rejected in October and November by shipping companies who instead opted to send empty containers to China, CNBC reported Tuesday.
shipping, exports, agriculture, goods, trade, trade war
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2021-57-26
Tuesday, 26 January 2021 04:57 PM
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