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California, ‘ground zero for US-China relations’, feels the pinch as trade war tariffs hit American port traffic

California, ‘ground zero for US-China relations’, feels the pinch as trade war tariffs hit American port traffic

Karen Quintana used to pay little attention to US President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. But as the US-China trade war has dragged on, monitoring the frequent social media dispatches has become an essential part of the job.
“At first, people did not really believe the tweets on tariffs were real. They thought, ‘oh he tweeted something, but maybe it’s not going to come true’. But now, we take them very seriously, when we get a notification that he is tweeting, we’re starting contingency planning, because otherwise you could be very easily caught off guard,” said Quintana, president of the Los Angeles Customs Broker and Freight Forwarders Association.
Her organisation represents 300 companies that are responsible for 6,000 customs and freight forwarding jobs in the city dubbed the “gateway to US-China trade”. The moment a tweet comes out that threatens tariffs or raises the prospect of a deal with China, Quintana is scrambling to get a memo to her members.