Tariffs and the Hardware Industry - The Hardware Hut
Tariffs, Hardware Industry, United States, China
Tariffs, Hardware Industry, United States, China

Tariffs and the Hardware Industry

The China United States trade war is an ongoing economic conflict between the two countries. In 2018, the U.S announced tariffs and other trade barriers on imported Chinese goods, intending to force China to change what the U.S calls “unfair trade practices.” Among the “unfair trade practices,” the U.S claimed theft of intellectual property and a growing trade deficit.

Tariffs: A Brief History

Tariffs are taxes, imposed by the government, on goods imported from another country. In this case, United States importers now pay additional taxes on goods imported from China. On September 1, 2019, the U.S. imposed 15% tariffs on about $112 billion of Chinese imports. More than two-thirds of consumer goods imported from China were then subject to tariffs. New anti-dumping duties include: 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum from China.

With this ever-changing political environment, it is uncertain what the future will hold. Some encouraging news came on October 11, when the U.S announced that China and the United States had reached a tentative agreement for the “first phase” of a trade deal. They agreed to suspend new, higher tariffs, scheduled for October 15. In return, the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed the two sides had the same understanding and had reached an agreement. Further details have not been announced to date.

The Effects

The trade war has a big effect on U.S. hardware industry, as many brands manufacture their products in China. Additionally, they may rely on Chinese steel, aluminum, and other products to make their products. The decision on how to deal with the price increase falls on importers, who then have a couple of different options. Many brands absorbed the extra costs themselves to avoid raising prices for consumers, although this practice becomes harder as tariff rates go up. Other brands split the cost with the consumer, with a 3-10% price increase. Brands who already have low-profit margins or less capital are forced to pass the additional cost onto the consumer, which is reflected in the selling price. Here at Spokane Hardware Supply and The Hardware Hut, we are continually working with our brands and supporting the decisions they make for their businesses.

The Hardware Hut: What Changes to Expect

Price increases on products sold at The Hardware Hut don’t necessarily go up at the same time or the same rate as the increased tariffs. Many brands have different strategies on how to counteract these changes. Prices will change as our brands announce the changes.

Going forward, products manufactured in China and other steel and aluminum products that fall under anti-dumping duties will continue to be subject to price increases. Under the “specifications” tab of every product sold on The Hardware Hut, we list the material the product is made from and the country it is manufactured in. Our trusted brands are working hard to be transparent about how the political environment affects their business. They also aim  ensure they’ve applied the proper increases to the proper product.

For additional information or specific details on price increases, please reach out to a customer service rep. We will continue to announce substantial price increases through our monthly newsletter.

About the author
Austin Stone joined Spokane Hardware Supply, Inc. and The Hardware Hut in 2017. When he is not in the office, he can be found snowboarding at Mt. Spokane or relaxing at the lake.