Because of this blog, our China lawyers get a fairly steady stream of China law questions from readers, mostly via emails but occasionally via blog comments or phone calls as well. If we were to conduct research on all the questions we get asked and then comprehensively answer them, we would become overwhelmed. So what we usually do is provide a quick general answer and, when it is easy to do so, a link or two to a blog post that provides some additional guidance. We figure we might as well post some of these on here as well. On Fridays, like today.
With the steady and unending onslaught of US tariffs and duties on Chinese products coming into the United States, our international manufacturing lawyers and advisors are spending much of their time these days in helping companies move their manufacturing from China to other countries. All this means we are often asked some variation of “where should I go to have my __________[product(s)] manufactured.
Our answers usually start out very general, with our saying something like, that is going to very much depend on your specific companies own needs and goals, but many of our clients with products similar to yours have moved to X or Y [countries].
About half the time, these companies want to hear our overall views on various countries. We often get questions like the following:
- Is Mexico really safe?
- Is Pakistan safe?
- Is Vietnam really “full.”
- Is Thailand capable of making X?
- Is Indonesia really cheaper than China?
- Is it true you are big on Portugal and Poland for manufacturing?
- What if I just ship my products from China to Vietnam and have them sent from there to the United States? Will that solve my tariff problem? I will answer this one right now, with a resounding no.
Our international lawyers and manufacturing advisors have strong opinions on some countries, but in the end, we have even stronger views that there is no one country right for everyone or for every product. What I will say is that we have been big fans of Vietnam for a long time (I encouraged my eldest daughter to do her foreign study there and she did), but Vietnam is super busy right now and because of that it makes sense for fewer companies now as compared to as recently as a year ago. We really like Thailand because we view it as very low risk for tariffs and duties and because we find it to be a relatively easy country in which to do business. Oh, and we are big fans of both Portugal and Poland, but again, not for everybody. As for Mexico being safe, that very much depends on the region, but we are big fans of Mexico for many products as well, and we are becoming increasingly big fans of other countries in Latin America as well.
Sorry for such general, lawyer-like answers. It is the best we can muster without writing a far too long post.