US and China are at it again, now creating holiday shopping concerns

September 24, 2018 10:20 PM

The US and China are at it again!

On Monday, the federal government imposed 10 percent tariffs on $200 million worth of goods made in China. 

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China in turn imposed tariffs on $60 million worth of American made products. 

Retailers are nervous about this latest round of tariffs, fearing it will hurt holiday sales. 

"I think for this holiday season we'll be okay... jury's still out as to what's going to happen in the future," said Dave Lane, owner of Digital Audio Visual Environment in Henrietta.

Lane thinks his company will dodge the bullet. While he has seen some higher prices caused by tariffs imposed earlier this year, he doesn't anticipate that these new tariffs will hurt his electronics store. 

"Most of the manufacturers I do business with have been planning this," he said. "They've seen the writing on the wall and they've already moved production where possible, to Mexico."

But not every retailer will be able to say the same.

Ten percent tariffs take effect on many common items made in China like toys, perfume, televisions, consumer electronics, kitchen gadgets and winter-wear like gloves and hats. 

Lane is not 100 percent convinced consumers will feel the effect of this latest round of tariffs until next year.

He advises those to shop early if you're planning to make a major purchase.

"From what I've seen Black Friday prices will be fine," Lane said. "There should be discounts and I think it will be next year sometime before we see any major price hikes," he says.

Walmart stands to lose big. 

In a letter to the Trump administration two weeks ago, the nation's largest retailer said it is "very concerned about the impact these tariffs would have on our business, our customers, our suppliers and the U.S. economy as a whole."

Walmart warned businesses will either increase prices for customers or take a hit to their profits by absorbing the costs. 

So what do shoppers think?

Henrietta resident Maribel Maxon said, "I think people are just going to keep buying....just like gas goes up and need gas. Christmas people spare no expense for their kids." 

"I'm just all about how much does it cost," said Carrie LaVancher of Pittsford. "I don't know where it's made most of the time. I just buy it because I like it. It's going to be a tough sell to get Americans to pay twice, or three times as much for the same product."

Professor Ron Schmidt is the Joseph and Janice Willet Professor at the Simon School of Business. He doesn't think tariffs are very smart and says "nothing good will come out of this." 

However, he thinks consumer income, which is strong, not tariffs will determine holiday spending. He says tariffs will affect the prices of some things, but they will be selective.

"They will determine more what people buy, not how much they spend," Schmidt said.


Lynette Adams

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