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NYS factories, area retailers expect harm from tariffs

John Hoge, co-owner of Sea Eagle Boats in

John Hoge, co-owner of Sea Eagle Boats in Port Jefferson, has found a way to adapt to the tariffs implemented by the U.S. government. Hoge moved some of his production from China to Vietnam and added a third seat to his boats, to offer more to consumers for the higher prices. Credit: Howard Simmons

Six in 10 factories across New York State and retailers in the metropolitan area expect to be harmed by the United States trade war with China, according to surveys released Tuesday.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said 64 percent of the manufacturers it polled this month forecast a “negative effect” on their business in the July-December period because of increased U.S. tariffs on imports, primarily from China.

In a separate poll, 59 percent of retailers said the higher tariffs, or import taxes, would hurt them in the next six months.

Twenty-four percent of factories and 18 percent of retailers said the tariffs’ impact would be “significantly negative” on them.

The surveys of 100 plants across the state and 100 retailers and service firms on Long Island, in New York City and its suburbs both coincided with the latest tariff hikes taking effect.

On June 1, the Trump administration raised tariffs to 25 percent on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and China retaliated with 20 percent or 25 percent tariffs on about $60 billion of U.S. goods.

Last fall, the United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports to 10 percent, and China responded with a 10 percent tariff on U.S. exports.

Still, that trade tit-for-tat appears to have had less effect on New York businesses in the last six months than they are projecting for the rest of the year, according to the polls. 

Fifty-eight percent of manufacturers and 44 percent of retailers said they had been negatively affected by the trade war in the first six months of this year.

This week in Washington the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is holding public hearings on extending the 25 percent tariff to nearly all Chinese imports not already hit by the higher tax. Among the affected imports would be toys, shirts, household goods and sneakers. 

More than 600 U.S. businesses and trade associations called for an end to the trade war in a letter to President Donald Trump last week.

“The additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the U.S. economy,” the letter states from the advocacy group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. “Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China’s unfair trade practices.”

Seven of the letter’s signatories are from Long Island including Blue Ribbon Pet Products Inc. in Bohemia, Fun World in Carle Place, Huisky Trading Co. Ltd. in Great Neck and United State Luggage in Hauppauge.

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