Tariff tiff could cost Colorado consumers, soybean farmers

Electronics, appliance costs could escalate
Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-04 20:48:27-04

DENVER -- The ongoing tiff over tariffs between President Donald Trump and the Chinese government could end up costing Colorado consumers who are in the market for products ranging from big screen TVs to copying machines and snow blowers.

The National Retail Federation said the "entire process creates uncertainty and makes it difficult for retail companies that must rely on complicated global supply chains."

The federation, which represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers, says tariffs threaten to hurt consumers, jeopardize job creation and increase the cost of doing business in the United States.

The federation estimates that tariffs could add several hundred dollars to the price of a $4,000 big screen TV.

Other consumer-related goods that are targeted for tariff hikes by the U.S. include dishwashers, fire extinguishers and vaccines for human and veterinary medicines. 

Best Buy, one of the biggest sellers of consumer electronics and appliances in Colorado, says it applauds the Administration's desire to ensure that our trade partners are using fair trade practices.

In an emailed statement to Denver7, Jeff Shelman, the company's senior director of external communications said, "We look forward to the opportunity to share our thoughts on the proposed list of products and on how to make sure these measures do not inadvertently hurt millions of American families, students, small businesses and schools, by causing them to pay more for the consumer electronics they rely on every day."

Reacting to President Trump, China has threatened to put tariffs on 106 U.S. products, including cars, chemicals and soybeans.

Kit Carson County soybean farmer Bruce Unruh has mixed feelings about that.

"It's a very tough situation," he said, "because neither side wants to give in."

Unruh said in the past, America has done most of the giving.

He said the Chinese are some of the best "market manipulators" in the world.

"They'll cancel big contracts for soybeans, claiming quality issues," he said, "and then they'll resign when the price drops."

When asked if President Trump should stick to his guns, even if it costs soybean farmers early on, Unruh replied, "I suppose I'd be willing to give up a little bit. If we have to give up too much, then you just have to close your eyes and lose at the other end, I guess, because you're paying the tariffs."

President Trump denied the economic showdown amounts to a trade war, tweeting Wednesday morning: "We are not in a trade war with China. That war was lost many years ago by the foolish or incompetent people who represented the U.S."