US-China trade war seen as biggest economic threat in 2020

Logistics industry survey finds executives remain concerned despite 'phase one' trade deal

The US-China trade dispute is seen as the biggest economic threat in 2020, despite a new trade deal between the two countries, according to a survey by Kuwait-based logistics company Agility and global research group Transport Intelligence.

Other issues seen as a threat to global economic growth include tensions between the US and Iran, a slowdown in the Chinese economy and a potential emerging market debt crisis.

The results, based on responses from 330 logistics and supply chain professionals, are part of the annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, a look at industry sentiment and a ranking of the world’s 50 leading emerging markets.

Twenty-eight per cent of respondents see a US-China trade war as the biggest threat to global growth in 2020, followed by US- Iranian tensions (19 per cent) and slowdown in the Chinese economy (17 per cent).

A technology war between east and west was seen as the biggest risk by 11 per cent of respondents, but only 8 per cent of those surveyed see Brexit as the largest threat in 2020.

Three of the leading threats involve China, which highlights the country's growing importance to the global economy and its ability to affect the fortunes of other countries, the survey findings showed.

Earlier this month, Washington and Beijing signed a “phase one” trade deal in which they agreed to halt imposition of new tariffs and restore the flow of number of goods and commodities that had been cut off by months of friction. Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday, US president Donald trump said phase two trade talks would start soon.

He also said new trade negotiations would begin between the US and the European Commission, which Mr Trump said had "taken advantage for a long time".

"I suspect we are going to be able to make a deal. Otherwise we will have to do something else," Mr Trump said.

"They haven't wanted to negotiate with past presidents but they are going to negotiate with me."