Tariff Troubles

By Barry Vogel- Executive Director ALMA International

The economy is humming and many in the United States are feeling encouraged by lower unemployment rates and wages finally climbing. The overall economy is growing at a stable rate. All is well…. Right?

In an effort to end what is by many accounts an unbalanced and restrictive trading market with China, tariffs have been imposed designed to both level the playing field and to force China to the negotiating table. At stake is the wholesale theft of American intellectual property and establishing fair and open markets for the trade of goods between the two nations. At stake is almost $130 billion in US exports and almost $505 billion in imports (based upon 2017 figures). The Trump administration has placed a 10% tariff on almost $200 billion in Chinese imports. The Chinese have targeted US markets that will have the greatest impact upon US jobs totaling over $60 billion. While there has been some minor pricing adjustments at retail to accommodate the price increases, the next stage holds risks for US loudspeaker manufacturers.

In January, a 25% tariff will be levied upon many loudspeaker parts. The impact upon US loudspeaker manufacturing assembly plants will be significant and will no doubt have to be passed along to resellers, and of course, ultimately to consumers. But wait! It is even worse than that: Assembled imported loudspeakers are exempted from the tariffs. While one may question the reasoning behind this, one needs look no further than the auto industry that now uses multiple speakers per vehicle. The added costs could be substantial. The unintended consequence is creating a domestic loudspeaker market that could be termed as non-competitive with imported loudspeakers. Giving an advantage to Chinese built loudspeakers in the US market was certainly not the intent, but seems to be the result.

What do we do now? What are you doing now? If you are one of the US manufacturers being impacted by the tariffs, we want to hear from you. As an industry, we need to come together to see what can be done. As an association, ALMA wants to facilitate the discussion. Please call Barry Vogel, Executive Director for ALMA International at 602-388-8669 or email to bvogel@almaint.org regardless of whether or not you are an ALMA Member. Working together, we can make a difference. We look forward to hearing from you.