VALPARAISO, Chile – The ongoing trade war between the United States and China, along with a series of economic uncertainties that have arisen in other areas, explains in part the loss of dynamism within the port industry in the Americas.
This is the claim offered by Argentina’s Ricardo Sanchez, an expert on infrastructure and ports with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), who spoke with EFE while participating in one of the main panels at the 107th annual convention of the American Association of Port Authorities, which is being held in Chile’s Port of Valparaiso, some 120 km (75 mi.) west of Santiago.
US-China trade tensions are a “very important (factor) because protectionist barriers obviously attack trade and, thus, attack transportation and ports,” Sanchez said.
“Protectionist measures are seen to be expanding in the world and of course free trade is being affected, and that naturally adds another element to the ports’ growth contraction,” he added, participating on a panel that analyzed the association between the world economic situation and the port industry.
Sanchez said that 2017 was a good year for the growth of international trade both in developed and developing countries, but he added that the global economy remains affected by a crisis that “is not over” and by a series of uncertainties.
He said that this is creating a situation where – although the general economic expectations are positive – the growth rate for ports is low, and that “causes concern”
He said that before the economic crisis, “the more the economy grew, the more the ports grew” and that, specifically in Latin America, the port industry grew up to four times faster than the economy, something that is not the case at present.
Economic uncertainty has arisen this year, he said, in the United Kingdom, and in some countries of the Euro Zone and in Japan.