As manufacturing picks up in Asia’s sourcing hubs following the Chinese New Year break, AI’s Q1 statistics for inspection and audit demand reflect the emerging sourcing trends of 2018. With all eyes on the unfolding US-China trade stand-off, AI data shows that US businesses undoubtedly stand to be impacted: as many as 73% of North American companies consider China their topmost sourcing destination and over 85% of them voiced concerns about tariffs and protectionism.

In the meantime, Chinese manufacturing remains unperturbed for now, with AI’s data for Q1 2018 showing a +5.9% YoY increase in inspection volumes, a figure to be eclipsed as regular business resumes after Chinese New Year.

Growth remains robust in Southeast Asia, with Cambodia continuing to outpace its economic forecast for the second year running, and inspection demand rising +22.4% YoY in Q1 2018. Pakistan also maintains momentum gained during last year, with inspection volumes expanding +10.3% YoY in Q1 2018.

Sourcing outside of Asia maintains an upward trajectory, reflecting the ever-increasing diversification of sourcing patterns. The Latin American region serves as a prime example, with first-quarter demand for inspections and audits increasing +26% YoY.

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