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China’s industrial robot imports from Japan continue to slide amid US-China trade war

Japan’s industrial robot industry has become the latest victim of the trade war between the US and China, indicating just how interconnected the global hi-tech supply chain is.

A profits squeeze amid a slowing economy has seen Chinese manufacturers reduce their orders for Japanese robots, said Ma Shugen, a professor at the department of robotics at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, in an interview last month.

“The trade war has lifted tariffs for Chinese manufacturers […] so companies are unwilling to make investments to build new product lines and import new machinery,” said Ma. China is the largest importer of Japanese-made industrial robots, sucking in over a 40 per cent share of exports of these goods in 2018, according to a 2018 report by Mizuho Research Institute.

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