the VOA Special English Economics Report.
last thirty years, American businesses have increasingly used suppliers in
China and all over the world. This helped fuel a current account deficit of
seven hundred thirty-one billion dollars last year. The current account is a
measure of the difference between a country's income and its current spending.
many companies profited by importing goods from foreign suppliers as world
trade barriers fell and oil prices were low. But wage costs have risen in
China. And now, with oil so costly, many economists wonder how wise it is to
make products far from home markets.
report by Jeff Rubin and Benjamin Tal at the Canadian bank CIBC said shipping
inflation is taking the place of the old trade tariffs. For example, in the
year two thousand, the cost to send a twelve-meter shipping container from
Shanghai to the American East Coast was three thousand dollars. Now the cost
has risen to eight thousand dollars.
transportation costs have already affected China's foreign trade. The rate of
export growth decreased from about twenty-seven percent a year ago to
twenty-two percent in the first half of this year.
transportation costs, some companies are opening factories in countries where
they sell their products. Sweden's Ikea, the world's largest seller of home
furniture, just opened its first factory in the United States in Virginia.
like the United States that have lost manufacturing jobs to foreign competition
could see some of those jobs return. But a new report says American businesses
are also looking at other ways to deal with high fuel prices. The report is
from a transportation research company based in London, Eyefortransport.
that for years the industry has tried to reduce costs by moving goods through
the supply chain as quickly as possible. Now, high fuel costs are making some
companies restructure their operations. Fewer but larger loads are being
companies are moving more goods by rail and by water, along coasts and inland
waterways. Not only does that save fuel, the report says, it also helps
shippers and carriers improve their "green" image.
these changes, it says, American manufacturers are looking for low-cost
countries closer to home -- known as near shoring. At the same time, there
appears to be a common belief in the industry that some carriers are raising
fuel charges just to increase profits.
that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm