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If President Donald Trump and China had not been in talks about trade practices, import tariffs could have risen from 10 to 25 percent—a devastation for some outdoor companies.
But according to reports, the Trump administration has declared a “signing summit” this month with Chinese leader Xi Jinping—the potential end to the tit-for-tat levies. Therefore, the tariff increase that was set to take place on Saturday has been postponed.
“We welcome the decision by the administration to postpone raising additional tariffs to give negotiators more time to resolve outstanding differences,” said Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Outdoor Industry Association vice president of governmental affairs. “This is good news for outdoor companies and consumers. We will continue to urge both sides to conclude a deal as soon as possible and eliminate all the tariffs imposed as a result of this dispute.”
For context, Trump has accused China of unfair trade practices and the tariffs were imposed as punishment. China retaliated with their own tariffs. Before agreeing to negotiations, the U.S. imposed three rounds of tariffs—on $200 billion of the $250 billion worth of Chinese imports—with the third round hitting the outdoor industry.
Hestra USA President Dino Dardano is relieved and eager to put the tariffs headache behind him for the 2019 season. Leather goods and gloves made the list along with travel goods, backpacks and sports bags, bikes, and camping equipment.
With 70 percent of Hestra USA’s product coming from factories in Hungary and Vietnam and the other 30 percent imported from China, the impact was not as great as it could have been. Dardano said that prices for 2019/2020 will increase three to five percent—a standard year-over-year price increase—rather than the full 10 percent, because they spread out manufacturing.
“The fact we are able to mitigate this has really been lucky,” Dardano said. “I think we were able to weather the storm. If something goes awry in trade talks and they’re not able to come to an agreement…well, I hope we don’t have to have that conversation.”