Bangladesh, along with three other countries — Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Korea — has come out on top as the prime beneficiary of the US-China trade war.
While US imports from Bangladesh were up by 14% during the first five months of this year, imports from China declined by 12% during the same period a year ago, reports CNN.
US imports also increased by 23% from Taiwan, 36% from Vietnam, and 12% from South Korea.
Although Americans are buying less from China, they are avoiding President Donald Trump's tariffs by turning to suppliers in other Asian countries instead of buying from local producers.
This trend, which emerged throughout more than a year of inconclusive trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing, also continued through May, according to data by the Census Bureau.
About 40% of companies surveyed in May by the American Chamber of Commerce and its counterpart in Shanghai said they were considering or have already relocated some manufacturing outside of China because of the tariffs.
For those that have moved production, about a quarter shifted to Southeast Asia. Fewer than 6% said they have relocated or are considering relocating to the US.
While imports from countries outside China have significantly increased this year, some production was already moving outside of China to places, with even lower wages, long before Trump began imposing tariffs.
US imports from countries like Vietnam and South Korea have been steadily increasing over the past decade as those countries have ramped up manufacturing of apparel and electronics, respectively.
Taiwan and South Korea are more focused on high-tech items like semiconductors, but Vietnam and Bangladesh still offer competitive wages — making them attractive destinations to manufacture consumer items like apparel and shoes.
However, it is currently unclear whether companies are permanently shifting production outside China, or simply rerouting goods for minimal processing before being shipped to America.
Trump's tariffs have made Chinese manufactured consumer goods like baseball caps, luggage, bikes, and handbags more expensive for American importers. Taxes have also hit a variety of machinery and industrial goods, including parts for dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, and water filters.
China on Friday vowed to fight back against Trump’s abrupt decision to slap 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports after US-Chinese trade talks in Shanghai failed to lead to progress.
This move ended a month-long trade truce between the two nations.
The US president has suggested in the past that Beijing will agree to a deal because the tariffs he has imposed on Chinese goods are driving away business.
"China is getting absolutely decimated by companies that are leaving China, going to other countries, including our own," he said in an interview with CNBC last month.
However, China’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, said Beijing would take “necessary countermeasures” to protect its rights and bluntly described Trump’s move as “an irrational, irresponsible act,” reports Reuters.
“China’s position is very clear. If the US wishes to talk, then we will talk, if they want to fight, then we will fight,” Zhang told reporters in New York.