Our new Marketplace Crash Course is here to help. Sign-up for free, learn at your own pace.
At Wyoming Fireworks Warehouse in Cheyenne, co-owner Nate McDonald sells everything from smoke balls to Roman candles and bottle rockets. Some of his best sellers this year: artillery shells — basically little balls of gunpowder you fire out of a tube.
And, like most fireworks, they’re nearly all Chinese-made.
“Like most fireworks, it’s pretty clear on the label,” McDonald said. “It says ‘Made in China’ on it, or the warehouse that’s coming from.”
The U.S. imports nearly all of its fireworks from China. And amid the ongoing trade dispute with China, fireworks have been caught in the crossfire — fireworks are on the $300 billion list of imports President Trump has threatened with a 25% tariff.
Bill Weimer, vice president of the Ohio-based retailer Phantom Fireworks, said no other country could manufacture the scale and range of fireworks that China does.
If President Trump goes ahead with his 25% tariff, Weimer said firework retailers like Phantom Fireworks would have little choice.
“We couldn’t possibly absorb 25% and stay in business,” Weimer said. “So we’d have to pass it on to the consumer.”
That could hurt sales in a booming business. The American Pyrotechnics Association estimates consumers will spend more than $1 billion on fireworks this year.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.