The Made in China label is losing traction with its two biggest customers. After three decades of gains, China’s share of U.S. imports has plateaued and in Europe it’s in decline.
The steepest losses are in the European Union, where China’s share of imports slumped to 16.5 percent in the first 11 months of last year, from a 2010 high of 18.5 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. In the U.S. the needle has barely moved in the past five years, holding around 19 percent.
Southeast Asian nations that were perceived to lose out from China’s WTO entry are now benefiting, with some newcomers to the exporter ranks, such as Cambodia. Indonesia’s potential helped lure $19.8 billion in foreign investment in 2012, almost triple the total from five years earlier, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Cambodia’s foreign investment surged almost 80 percent to $1.6 billion.
By contrast, Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew said in 2002 that China was “a vacuum cleaner for foreign direct investment.”