The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has put many of America’s small business owners on edge.
While higher tariffs will affect businesses of all sizes, they are particularly onerous to small businesses, said David French, senior vice president for government relations with the National Retail Federation.
“Small businesses are more vulnerable to a lot of the risk and uncertainty created by trade wars than are larger enterprises,” said French. “They have much less leverage in shifting product sourcing to another country, for instance, or spacing out the timing of shipments in order to avoid when the tariffs hit.”
Ultimately, that means they will have to pass along the extra costs to customers, business owners warn.
Tiffany Williams owns The Luggage Shop in Lubbock, Texas. The store has been in her family since 1951, and she’s been running it since 2005.
“We are the only luggage shop in town,” she said.
Over 85% of the products stocked in her shop – Samsonite, Tumi, Briggs & Riley – and other luggage, briefcases, and travel accessories are imported from China.
“The reality of the travel goods industry is that it is highly dependent on China,” she said.
Last fall, the US imposed an additional 10% tariff on top of existing duties, on a slew of goods coming in from China, including luggage. Then, on May 10, the government imposed more tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products, including travel goods, effectively escalating the import duty on luggage and other items from 10% to 25%.