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Can Vietnam Avoid Getting Hurt in the Crossfire When the Tariffs Are Flying?

来源:纽约时报    2018-08-31 09:44

        When elephants fight, the ants perish: The Khmer proverb captures the sense of peril in the escalating trade war between the United States and China. The world’s two superpowers have locked tusks over tariffs, and the rest of the world — especially Asia — seems in danger of being trampled. As the trade war heads into its third month, with the United States set to impose a new tranche of $200 billion in tariffs this fall, expanding the conflict fourfold, one truth is clearer than ever: In a globalized economy, nothing exists in isolation. There is no such thing as a trade war of surgical strikes, in which tariffs hit their targets and leave everything around them unscathed. In its attempt to punish China for unfair trade practices and to reduce a $375 billion trade deficit, the Trump administration is also inflicting harm on some of America’s allies in Asia — forcing them, like ants under the elephants’ feet, to scramble in search of escape.        大象打架,蚂蚁遭殃:这句高棉谚语可以准确地形容不断升级的美中贸易战的危机感。世界上两个超级大国在关税问题上像两只大象一样缠斗,而世界其他地区,尤其是亚洲,似乎面临被踩伤的危险。随着贸易战进入第三个月,美国将在今年秋季再对2000亿美元商品加征关税,将冲突扩大三倍。一个比以往任何时候都清晰的事实是:在全球化的经济中,没有什么是孤立存在的。在贸易战中,不存在外科手术式的打击;参战双方想让关税只击中目标,而他们周围的一切都毫发无损是不可能的。为了惩罚中国不公平的贸易操作、减少3750亿美元的贸易逆差,特朗普政府也在对美国在亚洲的一些盟友造成伤害——迫使他们像大象脚下的蚂蚁一样,争先恐后地寻求逃脱。
        Consider the predicament of Vietnam. China and the United States, which each have their own violent histories in Vietnam, are now that country’s most important trading partners. Together, the giants gobbled up roughly 35 percent of Vietnam’s exports last year, furthering its transformation from sleepy purveyor of rice and coffee to manufacturing hub. When the trade war broke out, so did the ominous headlines in Hanoi. A rapid devaluation of the Chinese yuan sparked a brief run on Vietnam’s currency and a drop in its stock market. Rumors spread about an influx of cheap Chinese consumer goods and the threat of American protectionism spreading in ways that would affect Vietnam’s vital exports. And there was a tangible concern: Nearly $5 billion of Vietnamese exports are part of China’s value-added supply chain, meaning they may feel the impact of being exposed to punitive American tariffs.        想想越南的困境。中国和美国在越南都有自己的暴力历史,现在都是越南最重要的贸易伙伴。去年,两个大国总共吃下了越南约35%的出口,推动了越南从一个不甚活跃的大米和咖啡供应国向制造业中心的转变。当贸易战爆发时,河内也出现了不祥的新闻标题。人民币迅速贬值引发了越南货币短暂的抛售,并导致越南股市下跌。流言纷纷传出:中国廉价消费品可能大量涌入;美国保护主义蔓延可能会影响和威胁到越南的重要出口。另外,还有一个切实的担忧:将近50亿美元的越南出口是中国增值供应链的一部分,这意味着这些出口商可能会受到美国惩罚性关税的影响。
        Soon another sort of reaction began taking place. Driven by the dangers of the trade war, many foreign companies with stakes in China — those ants underfoot — have started shifting production away from China to Southeast Asia. One sign of this development was on display in mid-July, when a group of visitors showed up on Vietnam’s northern coast near Ha Long Bay. The men in white shirts and dark ties were not tourists. They represented 72 Japanese businesses, in industries ranging from textiles to electronics, and they were looking for economic refuge. “Many of these Japanese firms have been operating in China,” Nguyen Duc Tiep, an official from the local-investment promotion center, told a Vietnamese magazine. “They want to expand their investment markets out of China to shun risks caused by the nation’s rising production costs and by the U.S.-China trade war, which is making it hard for Japanese firms to export their products to the U.S. from China.”        很快,另一种反应开始发生。在贸易战的危险驱使下,许多在中国持有股份的外国公司——那些大象脚下的蚂蚁——开始将生产从中国转移到东南亚。这一发展趋势的迹象之一是7月中旬,一群访客出现在越南北部海岸下龙湾(Halong Bay)附近。穿白衬衫打黑领带的男子们不是游客。他们代表了从纺织到电子等行业的72家日本企业,正在寻求经济庇护。“这些日本公司中有很多在中国运营,”当地投资促进中心的官员阮德捷(Nguyen Duc Tiep,音)告诉一家越南杂志,“他们希望将投资市场扩大到中国以外,以规避中国生产成本上升和美中贸易战造成的风险。贸易战使得日本公司很难从中国向美国出口产品。”
        The Japanese businessmen may be among the trade war’s first economic victims. But the shift of manufacturing away from China is not a new phenomenon. Over the past few years, as wages in Chinese factories have risen sharply, many companies, foreign and Chinese alike, have begun moving at least some of their operations to Southeast Asia to take advantage of lower production costs. In Vietnam, where wages are barely a third of those in China, Adidas now makes twice as many shoes as it does in China, and Intel and Samsung Electronics have made billion-dollar investments there. The country’s export-led growth depends on attracting foreign investment, and now American and Chinese policies may be hastening its arrival. “For many companies, the trade conflict is a catalyst to explore changes they hadn’t contemplated before,” says Jon Cowley, a tax-and-trade partner at the law firm Baker McKenzie in Hong Kong. “For others, it’s an accelerant to a process they’d already started. The trade conflict is just pushing them over the finish line.”        日本商人可能是这场贸易战的第一批经济受害者。但是,把制造业从中国转移出来并不是一个新现象。在过去几年中,随着中国工厂的工资大幅增长,包括外企和中国公司在内的许多企业都已开始把它们的至少一部分业务转移到东南亚,以利用那里低廉的生产成本。在工资几乎不及中国三分之一的越南,阿迪达斯目前在那里生产的运动鞋是其在中国生产的两倍,英特尔和三星电子也已在南亚投资了数十亿美元。越南的出口导向型增长依赖于吸引外国投资,现在美国和中国的政策也许正在加速投资的到来。“对很多公司来说,中美贸易冲突是一个催化剂,推动它们探索以前未曾考虑过的变化,”香港律所贝克·麦坚时(Baker McKenzie)的税收与贸易合伙人乔恩·考利(Jon Cowley)说。“对其他人来说,这是一个加速他们已经开始的进程的东西。中美贸易冲突只是正在推动他们越过终点线。” 
        It is still early in the trade war, only two months in, so many of these corporate moves are just taking shape. Still, the race is on to secure excess manufacturing capacity all around the region — in Thailand, Indonesia and elsewhere. In late July, Delta Electronics, a Taiwanese producer of Apple power components, approved a $2.14 billion buyout of its Thai affiliate to cope with the growing trade risks. Also this summer, Hong Kong’s Techtronic Industries (T.T.I.), the maker of Hoover vacuum cleaners and Milwaukee power tools, opened a new plant in Vietnam and another, its sixth, in the United States. Some 76 percent of T.T.I.’s revenue comes from North America. “We have always said we won’t want all our eggs in one basket,” the company’s chief executive, Joseph Galli, said in August, stressing the importance of “a flexible supply chain.”        贸易战仍处于初期,开战才两个月,所以,这些企业做法中的许多才刚有模样。尽管如此,为确保在包括泰国、印度尼西亚和其他地方的整个区域有更多制造能力的竞争已经开始。7月下旬,苹果电源元件的台资生产商台达电子(Delta Electronics)批准了以21.4亿美元收购其泰国子公司的交易,以应对日益增长的贸易风险。同样在今年夏天,生产胡佛(Hoover)吸尘器和密尔沃基(Milwaukee)电动工具的香港制造商创科实业(T.T.I.)在越南建了一个新工厂,并在美国建了其第六个工厂。创科实业大约76%的营收来自北美。“我们一直都在说,我们不希望把所有的鸡蛋放在一个篮子里,”公司首席执行官约瑟夫·盖里(Joseph Galli)今年8月在强调“灵活供应链”的重要性时说。
        Supply chains, innocuous as they sound, are a locus of collateral pain in this trade war. The American exports that China is hitting with retaliatory tariffs are mostly simple goods sourced close to home: pork, soybeans, whiskey. But China’s exports to the United States, especially in high-tech, are complex products assembled in China from a staggering array of foreign components and raw materials. A “Made in China” laptop shipped to America, for example, may have a South Korean screen, a Japanese hard drive and a memory chip from Taiwan. A tariff hurts every part of this international supply chain. Asia’s most advanced economies, including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, are so globalized that they can easily get caught in this protectionist crossfire.        供应链听起来不冒犯任何人,但这场贸易战的附带痛苦正确切地发生在供应链上。中国以报复性关税打击的美国出口产品大多是在美国国内生产的简单商品:猪肉、大豆、威士忌。但是中国对美国的出口,特别是高技术产品,是在中国组装的复杂产品,用于组装这些产品的外国零部件和原材料多得惊人。例如,一台运往美国的“中国制造”笔记本电脑里可能有一个韩国屏幕、一个日本硬盘和一个来自台湾的内存芯片。关税伤害这个国际供应链中的每一部分。包括日本、韩国和台湾在内的亚洲最先进的经济体都高度全球化,以至于它们很容易在这场保护主义战火中中枪。
        Taiwan may stand to lose the most. It supplies 18 percent of China’s total imports of intermediate goods, or nearly 14 percent of Taiwan’s gross domestic product, according to the Stimson Center in Washington. As Tsai Ming-fang, an economist at Taipei’s Tamkang University, told Bloomberg: “Trump’s tariffs are giving Taiwanese companies further incentives to move to Southeast Asia.”        台湾可能会承受最大的损失。根据华盛顿的史汀生中心(Stimson Center)的数据,台湾提供了中国全部进口中间商品的18%,这种出口占台湾国内生产总值的14%。正如台北淡江大学经济学家蔡明芳对彭博社(Bloomberg)所说:“特朗普的关税正在给台湾公司更多搬往东南亚的动力。”
        The dust kicked up by the trade war obscures the fact that Asia is the world’s most dynamic trading region. According to the World Trade Organization, Asia in 2017 had the world’s fastest growth in trade volume for both imports and exports, 9.6 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. Eighteen months ago, the leaders of Vietnam and 10 other Pacific Rim nations believed the economic outlook would be enhanced even further by the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The agreement, which included the United States and Japan but not China, also offered the chance to push back, as a group, against Beijing’s unfair trade practices like intellectual-property theft and forcing companies that do business in China to share their technology.        贸易战掀起的尘埃掩盖了这样一个事实:亚洲是全球最具活力的贸易区。根据世界贸易组织的数据,2017年,亚洲的进出口贸易总额的增长速度在全球最高,分别为9.6%和6.7%。18个月前,越南和其他10个环太平洋国家的领导人都以为,跨太平洋伙伴关系协定(Trans-Pacific Partnership,简称TPP)的签署将进一步提升区域经济前景。针对北京不公平的贸易做法(比如盗取知识产权,以及迫使在中国做生意的外国公司分享技术等),包括美国和日本但不包括中国的TPP,也会给作为一个集体的协定国提供反击的机会。
        President Trump rejected T.P.P. out of hand. Now, with diminished influence in the region, the United States wages its trade war alone, leaving many of its erstwhile Asian partners, and many American companies, too, stuck in the middle, seeking the safest way out.        特朗普总统不假思索地拒绝了TPP。如今,随着美国在亚太地区的影响力减弱,美国又独自发动了贸易战,许多昔日的亚洲伙伴、以及许多美国企业都被夹在了中间,它们都在寻找最安全的出路。
        To offset the conflict’s negative impact, Beijing has slashed tariffs to Asian countries, a reminder, it seems, that China will remain the lone superpower in Asia long after the trade war is over. This appeal, however, may not stop the flow of manufacturers out of China to Southeast Asia. The American shoe-and-accessory maker Steve Madden, for example, is shifting its handbag production from China to Cambodia — 15 percent this year, 30 percent in 2019. (A U.S. Fashion Industry Association study released in July showed that two-thirds of all textile companies are expected to lower production in China over the next two years, citing United States trade protectionism as the top challenge.) Moving production to a new location is expensive and complicated. Given the mercurial man behind the trade war, and the chaotic churn of American politics, some executives are holding fast in hopes that it will all go away. But as new tariffs loom for another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, with 6,031 products on its target list, the trade war no longer looks like a short-term crisis.        为了抵消贸易冲突的负面影响,中国政府大幅度降低了对亚洲国家的关税。这似乎在提醒人们,待到贸易战结束之后,中国在未来的很多年里,仍将是亚洲唯一的超级大国。然而,这种吸引力可能不足以阻止制造商从中国转向东南亚。比如,美国鞋履及配饰制造商史蒂夫·马登(Steve Madden)正将手袋的生产从中国转移到柬埔寨,今年转移15%,2019年再转移30%。(美国时装行业协会[U.S. Fashion Industry Association]7月份发布的一份研究报告显示,三分之二的纺织企业预计将在未来两年减少在中国的生产,这些企业认为美国的贸易保护主义是其面临的最大挑战。)将生产转移到一个新的地方既昂贵又复杂。考虑到贸易战推动者的喜怒无常,以及美国政治混乱的反反复复,一些高管正勉力支撑,希望这一切都会过去。但是,随着即将对又一批价值2000亿美元的中国进口商品(目标清单上总共有6031种产品)加征新关税,贸易战看起来不再像是一次短期危机。
        As the battle escalates, there’s a worry that Chinese companies may shift more operations southward, too, using ‘’tariff-jumping” tactics to get their goods to the United States. The Vietnamese, at least, are vigilant against Chinese intrusions. Their antagonistic history with their northern neighbor — the millennium under Chinese imperialism, the bloody 1979 border war, the ongoing disputes over the South China Sea — has colored recent protests against Chinese businesses. It almost seems like karmic payback that Vietnam might benefit from China’s conflict with the United States, a country that, despite its own protracted war here, has become one of Vietnam’s strongest allies.        随着战斗的升级,人们担心中国公司也会把更多的业务向南转移,使用“关税避让”策略将货物运往美国。至少越南人对中国人的进入保持警惕。越南与自己这个北方邻国的敌对历史——上千年的中华帝国统治,惨烈的1979年边境战争,在南海持续不断的争端——影响了最近针对中国企业的抗议活动。越南可能从中美两国的贸易冲突中获益这一点,几乎像是一种因果报应。美国虽然也与越南进行过旷日持久的战争,但如今已经成为越南最强大的盟友之一。
        Nobody can predict all of the pain and permutations of the trade war. The Vietnamese government is cautious, even projecting negligible declines in growth over the next five years. Others are far more sanguine. In July, Standard Chartered raised its growth forecasts for Vietnam to 7 percent this year, based on the influx of foreign direct investment. In addition to attracting companies hedging their Chinese bets, Vietnam may also pull in American buyers eager to diversify their imports from outside China. “The consensus before was that T.P.P. would be the catalyst,” says Michael Kokalari, chief economist at the Vietnam-focused asset-management firm VinaCapital. “But the trade war could be the thing that really opens the floodgates.” In Vietnam, fighting elephants just might give the nimblest (or luckiest) ants a chance to thrive.        没有人能预测贸易战带来的所有痛苦和转变。越南政府持谨慎态度,甚至预测贸易战对未来五年的经济增长可能造成微不足道的下滑。其他人则乐观得多。今年7月,渣打银行(Standard Chartered)将越南今年的经济增长预期上调至7%,理由是外国直接投资的流入。除了吸引企业来这里来对冲它们在中国的风险,越南还可能吸引来美国买家,这些买家正急于从中国以外的地方进口,以达到货源的多样化。“以前的共识是,TPP将是催化剂,”迈克尔·科卡拉里(Michael Kokalari)说,他是以越南为重点的资产管理公司VinaCapital的首席经济师。“但贸易战可能会真的打开闸门。在越南,打架的大象可能会给最灵活(或最幸运)的蚂蚁一个茁壮成长的机会。

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