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Companies meet coronavirus-driven demand with trade war stockpiles
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OAKLAND, California (Reuters) – As the coronavirus outbreak forced classes online, Boston Public Schools ordered 20,000 laptops and had them in hand in four days — an unusually fast turnaround made possible by a build-up of inventory prompted by the U.S.-China trade war.
Computer companies including Boston school vendor Acer Inc ordered extra laptops for import in early December ahead of scheduled U.S. tariffs on products from China, where 90% of the world's laptops and monitors are made.
While the tariff plans have since been canceled as part of a "phase one" trade deal, the build is letting companies meet a surge in demand from U.S. students and workers stuck at home due to lockdowns, even as customers in Japan, India and Britain face weeks-long delays and "out of stock" signs.