Tariff hikes on Chinese imports to hit US toy industry hard, says business leader
Children view toys inside an Amazon store in Berkeley, California. [Photo/Agencies]
NEW YORK - Washington's tariff hikes against Chinese imports will hit the US toy industry hard with increasing costs and decreased profits, said a senior industry leader.
"Our members are, understandably, concerned about the potential tariffs proposed on toys," Rebecca Mond, vice-president of federal government affairs at the Toy Association, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency via email on Monday.
"These tariffs, which are taxes paid by importers and ultimately passed along to consumers, will hit the toy industry hard given how heavily we rely on China for toy manufacturing and how thin the profit margins already are," Mond said.
US toy companies are still assessing what the impact will be for their companies, she said. "They're looking at ways to mitigate the cost increase, they're looking at increasing prices, and they're looking to try to bring products in early."
"But, for the most part, prices are negotiated well in advance so many will be incurring a significant blow to their profitability," Mond said.
"One thing is clear, however, a mass shift of production out of China is not a viable option for our industry," she said. "The infrastructure, capacity and workforce to meet consumer demand does not exist anywhere else."
"Toy companies are not making mass production changes, nor are they necessarily looking to do so. The capacity does not exist elsewhere," she added.
"Even if these tariffs do go into effect, we do not expect them to be permanent. It does not make sense to make long-term production decisions based on temporary factors," Mond said.
"We are absolutely optimistic that a deal can be reached - we have to be! The US and China's relationship is incredibly important for our industry and for the US economy," she said.
She said she believes "the final mile in a marathon is usually the most challenging" and the two sides can "reach common ground and push through to the finish line."
The US government increased additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent on May 10, and has threatened to raise tariffs on more Chinese goods.
In response to the new round of U.S. protectionist moves, China has announced that it will raise additional tariffs on a range of US imports from June 1, and "will fight to the end".
The Toy Association, a national trade association representing US toy industry, has 950 plus members and an annual US economic impact of $110.9 billion according to the group.
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