2019 has become a remarkable year in most fields of industry, containing fiber lasers. The thing is that trade tariffs of laser systems between the U.S. and China led to much of this uncertainty as well as various challenges such as having a negative influence on both the U.S. and China economies and a decline in U.S./China relations.
The situation concerning fiber lasers remains complicated. Although China is considered to be the largest consumer of laser systems in the world, particularly in the materials processing area, and the U.S manufactures most of the fiber laser systems (at least at high-powers), the economy of both countries did not suffer from trade tariffs with negative direct impact on lasers.
It should be noted that there is an opportunity for fiber laser manufacturers to move their production around to other countries if required because most large U.S. companies are multi-national. Additionally, fiber lasers produced outside of the U.S. are not exposed to tariffs when transported to China because manufacturers of laser systems make them in Europe, for instance, then ship those fiber laser systems to China bypassing the trade tariffs.
Also, it is possible to shift the laser system production to China resulting in the absence of tariffs again. Thus, smaller companies – fiber laser manufacturers in the U.S. without the opportunity selling to China suffered much harder. Besides, a lot of fiber lasers exported to China are regarded as “specialized, high-margin lasers without many substitutes, and trade tariffs usually do apply to these laser systems, but margins are great enough where the added cost can be absorbed by the manufacturer.”
Nevertheless, it works only on fiber lasers that are employed for scientific and research purposes. The fact is margins are pretty high on these laser systems to stand against some of the trade tariffs, not completely but partially. Herewith, trade tariffs influenced Chinese fiber laser systems imported into the U.S. as well, however, it has been generally slight.
The major part of Chinese laser systems is generally low-cost cutters and engravers with not much competition outside of China. Although the tariffs between the U.S. and China do not influence significantly on laser sales directly, the current situation is difficult to be called positive. Nowadays the main application of such laser systems is the manufacturing products, and in the shipment decrease of these manufactured products result in following sales of fiber laser systems.
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