Retailers divided on Chinese import tariffs

It has been nearly three years since then President Donald Trump threatened for months to impose high tariffs on China for its alleged unfair trade practices. In the flooring industry, tariffs of up to 25% were imposed on a range of products, particularly luxury vinyl.

Today, these tasks remain, despite the changed administration. Floor retailers
who have incorporated the increases into their pricing structure say that sales of LVT / SPC / rigid core – for the most part – have not been negatively impacted. Retailers say this is partly due to the fact that floors are not often bought and consumers do not know the prices of floors. There is also the fact that, three years later, there is slightly less dependence on China as flooring suppliers and distributors tried to escape the punitive tariffs imposed by the US and take production to other Southeast Asian countries, Europe. or the US moved.

With the protracted trade battle still unresolved, retailers are divided as to whether they want the tariffs to remain or be dropped. Carlton Billingsley, co-owner of Floors and More, Benton, Ark., Would like to see tariffs discontinued to reduce costs to consumers. “We would like to get one price for the product and not tariffs, energy surcharges, fuel costs and other incremental prices that some suppliers charge,” he said. “We have been very diligent to avoid those sellers who have charged extra fees, and we will do all discretionary business to those who have made it easier to do business by calling us one price.”

Eric Mondragon, hard floor buyer for RC Willey, with 15 locations in the West, said he understands the point of the tariffs, but would like them to be withdrawn “just to get prices back on the more expensive products.” ” He added that rates have affected his business in a variety of ways. “First, it has increased the cost of goods, which are passed on to consumers. Second, it has created an influx of lower-end products to hit the sweet spot for the retail price. Customers will now be less likely to upgrade, which has brought my average price down. “

Mike Montgomery, co-owner of Montgomery’s CarpetsPlus ColorTile, Venice, Florida, isn’t a fan of the rates, although it has little to do with the impact on his business. “The problem with rates is that most consumers don’t understand that they end up paying for them. We adjust our prices for each rate. However, it only harms the end user / consumer, so my opinion is let’s end the rate and move on. Fortunately, we don’t have any adverse impact from rates, but at some point it will become an issue. “

Retailers who are in favor of maintaining tariffs would like to see more domestic production result. “I’m all for Made in USA,” said Elisabeth Stubbs, owner of Enhance Floors & More, Marietta, Georgia. “If the tariffs help to balance trade with China, help in future negotiations, etc., let them stay. New customers don’t know what things cost, so the tariffs added to our prices weren’t an issue. . “

China ratesJon Dauenhauer, co-owner of Carpet World Bismarck, in North Dakota, is also in favor of maintaining the rates. “As a result of those tariffs, production is shifting back to the US,” he said. “We didn’t see much impact from the tariffs because the demand for those products was so great. We are delighted to see production return to the US. “

Other dealers said the issue makes no difference to them, and that if tariffs are right for America – be it to level the playing field or to incentivize more companies to return production to the states – then they let stay.

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