Such centrality bodes well for the NAFTA system as companies look for ways to reshore manufacturing operations. While there are many manufacturing supply chains that will need to find alternate suppliers and workarounds, China’s limited presence in the intermediate goods trade suggests such alternates and workarounds will be manageable for the system as a whole. From the point of view of American capital, workers, firms and communities, this is a welcome piece of good news.
The real problem moving forward will be what can go wrong with the manufacture and supply of all those already finished products the United States imports. As China’s links to the world fracture, the entire East Asian manufacturing system will need to be broken up, reordered and relocated. It took five decades to build Asian manufacturing into its current form. Its unraveling will happen much more quickly.