>> Washington and Beijing's escalating trade war has companies on both sides of the Pacific struggling to deal with all the uncertainty, but one group is cashing in, consultants. International trade advisors say they're busier than ever selling their services to companies trying to navigate the confusion. Reuters' Engen Tham in Shanghai says they're doling out advice on ways to get around trade rules without breaking the law.
>> One of the things that companies will go to consultants for is to ask them whether or not they can recode one of their products. If it's used for one purpose, it may come under a code, which is subject to a increased tariff. Whereas, if it's under a different purpose, if it can be used for a different purpose, then it's not subject to the increased tariff.
And so very often you need expert opinion to be able to help you assess that.>> US consultancy Deringer says it's also seen a bump in demand for so called tariff engineering. One of these strategies is called the quote, complete breakdown.>> So for example, if you are company that is in China and you're exporting lawnmowers to the US for sale, then if, for example, there is a tariff on lawnmowers in the US.
Then what you could do, you could disassemble the lawnmower in China, and export the parts instead of the entire lawnmower to the US, and then reassemble in the US.>> Consultants are also busy advising companies on their supply chains, with some US firms looking to shift from China to countries not affected by tariffs, like Thailand or Vietnam.
All this means big money for US firms like Mohawk Global Trade Advisors. Its consultancy business is up by 20% ever since U.S President Donald Trump helped set the tariff battle in motion. But some consultants say they're not getting complacent just yet. One warning that when it comes to Donald Trump and his policies, everything could change at the drop of a tweet.