Tariff hikes on Chinese imports cripple U.S. travel goods industry: expert
Updated 18:21, 12-Jun-2019

Slapping additional tariffs on Chinese imports has a huge impact on American travel goods businesses, as China has always been U.S. companies' first-choice supplier, says expert.

Nate Herman, director of government relations of the U.S. Travel Goods Association, told Xinhua in a recent interview that tariffs on Chinese goods have already taken a toll on the U.S. travel goods industry.

"We pay tariffs ranging from eight to 20%, depending on the type of travel goods, so with 25% punitive tariffs on top ... our members are forced into a situation that they have to either raise prices or basically eliminate their margins, and if they raise the prices, then there's concern about lowering sales," which would in turn stifle hiring, said Herman.

On May 10, the United States increased additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese goods, which include U.S. imports of travel goods from China, from 10  to 25%, and threatened to raise tariffs on some 300 billion dollars' worth of Chinese imports yet to be hit.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S. /VCG Photo

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S. /VCG Photo

Herman, whose association represents about 250 manufacturers and retailers in the country's travel goods industry, said about 82 percent of all travel goods sold in the United States – luggage, backpacks, handbags, totes, wallets, brief cases, smart phone cases and other travel accessories – are imported from China.

Vietnam, India and Cambodia currently rank number two, three and four, respectively, in supplying U.S. travel goods companies and stores, he said.

Calling China "the first-choice supplier," the senior executive attributed the large amount of U.S.-China collaboration in the industry to the good quality, reasonable price and great innovation of the Chinese products.

He said the tariffs are hitting the U.S. travel goods industry, where 90 percent are small and medium-sized businesses.

Shifting supply chains to other countries is not a realistic option, he said, as building supply chains somewhere else is costly and will take time, and more importantly, "nobody has the capacity of China to produce the travel goods."

According to a report from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a bipartisan campaign against the levies, increasing duties on Chinese goods to 25% would cost a U.S. family of four $767 annually and could lead to a loss of over 934,000 jobs in the country.

Adding his voice to the opposition of the U.S. administration's tariff moves, Herman also called for a resolution of  U.S.-China trade issues.

"I hope that, eventually, both sides will see that a trade war does not serve anyone's interest and only hurts the people in each country," he said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency