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更新时间:2015-7-10 10:17:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Potential Impact Weighed in Asia and U.S.

HONG KONG — Willie Fung, a leader in the world’s bra industry, knows just what he will do if negotiators from the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations complete a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement this summer.

香港——全球胸衣行业的领导者冯炜尧(Willie Fung)很清楚,如果美国和11个环太平洋国家的谈判代表在今年夏天签署跨太平洋伙伴关系协定(Trans Pacific Partnership,简称TPP),他接下来会怎么做。

He says he will catch a flight to Vietnam to look at possible locations for a new brassiere factory. Mr. Fung’s company, Top Form, has built factories in China, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, countries that are not part of the planned trade deal. That makes him worry that they may become less competitive if Vietnam qualifies for extra-low tariffs and the United States eases access in other ways to its vast market.

他说自己会坐飞机去越南,寻找一个合适的地方,用来建立新的胸衣加工厂。冯炜尧的黛丽丝国际有限公司(Top Form)之前已经在中国、泰国、柬埔寨和缅甸建立了加工厂,这些国家都没有参与TPP谈判。这让他担心,如果参与谈判的越南取得了超低关税优势,而且美国在其他方面也作出安排,让它可以顺畅地进入其巨大市场,前面提到的几个国家的竞争力可能会有所下降。

As the trade talks move toward conclusion, Mr. Fung said, garment industry tycoons here in Hong Kong “ask ourselves the question, ‘What does it mean to us?’ ”


After a bitter fight, the House and Senate approved legislation last month to allow President Obama and his successor to submit the Pacific pact and a potential agreement with Europe to Congress for an up-or-down vote with no filibusters or amendments permitted.


The draft text of the agreement has not been released, but emerging details suggest that it could have a substantial effect on a variety of industries.


Some Asian economists, particularly those from China, are skeptical that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have a profound effect on commerce in the region. He Weiwen, a former Chinese Commerce Ministry official who is now a director of the influential China-United States-European Union Study Center at the China Association of International Trade in Beijing, said the potential expansion of trade from a possible China-led pact covering all of East Asia could be up to three times greater.


One shortcoming of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is that it has only one major consumer market, the United States, while the rest of the trading partners are essentially producers with limited demand for imported goods, said Terence Chong, who is the executive director of the Institute of Global Economics and Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and is also a senior economist at Nanjing University in east-central China.

跨太平洋伙伴关系协定的缺点之一在于,它只有一个重要消费市场,即美国,其他贸易伙伴基本上都是提供商品的生产国,进口需求非常有限。香港中文大学全球经济及金融研究所常务所长庄太量(Terence Chong)表示,他也是位于中国中东部的南京大学的高级经济学家。

“There are not enough markets for the whole thing to develop — you need China as a market and producer,” he said. “You need more members; now it has only 12, but it may need 20.”


Such criticisms have not dissuaded the Obama administration from pushing ahead. One goal of the pact is to set streamlined rules on technical issues like standardizing the online processing of customs documents, a measure that could not only expedite shipments but also reduce the opportunities for bribing customs officials.


“The real impact, I think, is going to be on trade facilitation,” said Richard Vuylsteke, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

“我想,它真正的影响在于贸易便利化,”位于香港的美国商会主席魏理庭(Richard Vuylsteke)说道。

The member countries of the new pact already have a series of bilateral free trade agreements and regional trade agreements that cover large chunks of their trade with each other. The two big exceptions are Japan, which has gone out of its way to protect its farmers, and Vietnam, which is embracing capitalism while remaining tightly controlled politically by its Communist Party.


But perhaps the single biggest driving force is geopolitical.


China has been making increasingly assertive claims of sovereignty over islands and seas close to Japan and Vietnam. That has left both countries willing to open their markets wider to trade with the United States, as a way to move further under the American security umbrella.


The bra industry offers one specific sign of what some of the shifting trade patterns from a successful Trans-Pacific Partnership might mean.


As it turns out, a move of bra manufacturing from China and some of its Southeast Asian neighbors to Vietnam could have a modestly beneficial effect on textile makers in the United States. That is because the partnership is virtually certain to include a “yarn forward” rule, specialists said. Such a rule, already found in the North American Free Trade Agreement, says that to qualify for low or zero tariffs while crossing borders within the regional trade pact, garments must be made from fabric woven in a member country, and that fabric must be made from yarn made in a member country.

事实证明,胸衣产业从中国及其东南亚邻国转移到越南的情况会给美国的纺织品生产商带来一定的正面影响。专家们表示,这是因为该协定实际上肯定会加入“从纱线开始”的规定。《北美自由贸易协定》(North American Free Trade Agreement)已经包含该规定。该规定要求,要想在向该地区贸易协定成员国出口产品时享受较低关税或零关税优惠,服装必须由成员国出产的布料制成,而且布料本身也必须由成员国生产的纱线制成。

Vietnam has low-cost labor but virtually no fabric production or yarn production, said Mr. Fung, who is the chairman of the Hong Kong Garment Manufacturers Association. The United States is the only country in the proposed trade zone with a cotton yarn industry or a cotton fabric industry of any size, and one of several countries in the pact with sizable production of synthetic fabric.

身兼香港制衣厂同业公会(Hong Kong Garment Manufacturers Association)主席一职的冯炜尧表示,越南拥有廉价劳动力,但基本上并不生产布料或纱线。美国是拟建贸易区中唯一拥有一定规模的棉纱产业或棉布料产业的国家,除美国之外,还有几个成员国能够大量生产混合纤维。

Freight costs to bring fabric from the United States to Asia are extremely low, largely because current trade flows across the Pacific lopsidedly consist of goods traveling from China to the United States. To avoid having shipping containers come back to Asia empty, freight companies accept very low rates for exporters in the United States who want to send cargo to Asia.


Foreign companies may eventually set up yarn and fabric factories in Vietnam. But this could take many years. The country has almost no one with the technical skills needed to operate and maintain the computerized equipment for these highly automated industries.


So garment makers may set up operations in Vietnam for shipments to the United States, while buying substantial quantities of American fabric to supply their factories, Mr. Fung said. And fabric is a big part of the overall cost.