Currents News Staff
If you step inside Brooklyn Bicycle Company’s New York City showroom, you’ll see the unintended consequences of a trade war.
Shop owner Ryan Zagata’s bikes are assembled in China using foreign-made components to keep the cost down for the consumer.
But in September of 2018, the Trump administration’s ten percent tariff hike on nearly 200 billion dollars in Chinese goods forced Zagata to raise some prices.
Like many of America’s small to medium-sized businesses, the Brooklyn Bicycle Company is already dealing with the negative consequences of the increased import tariffs.
Then this past Friday, the White House announced that that ten percent will increase to 25, a change that will result in yet another price hike on the showroom floor.
“It’s difficult for me. I can’t call the customer and say, ‘guess what? you’re getting a better wheel set, you’re getting better grips and this luxurious leather saddle.’ That’s not what you’re getting,” said Zagata on how the tariffs will continue to affect his sales numbers and customer service.
“Effectively, this money is going to the government,” he said.
It’s been a rough ride for many business owners since President Trump waged his trade war with China. Zagata blames the uncertainty that comes with negotiations.
“It’s not difficult for us as a business to decide what to do. We’ve built financial models where we can punch in different variables regardless of the different scenario, and the models will effectively decide, ‘this is what you need to do.’ The challenge with the model now is we’re missing a variable. We don’t know what the final duty is going to be with these trade talks still ongoing,” he said.
“I think the tariffs are a great tool, and I applaud the administration for what they’re doing. I just think that six months, nine months in, it’s becoming really difficult. Come on already with these negotiations, let’s move ahead,” Zagata added.
Despite these setbacks for some business owners, optimism is coming from the President, who on Friday took to Twitter, saying tariffs will make the country “much stronger.”
“Just sit back and watch,” he wrote.
That may be hard for U.S. importers to do, as China now vows to strike back after Friday’s tariff hike.