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Trade showdown

Trade war tariffs now truly part of the furniture

Andy Uhler Nov 15, 2019
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A family shops at an Ikea in New Jersey.
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Last year China shipped $35 billion worth of furniture to the United States. Those imports were hit with a 10% tax in September of 2018, which jumped to 25% in May. But the furniture industry is feeling it even before the products get manufactured.

“Tariffs applied to an industry like metals, steel and aluminum tariffs, affect the cost structure of the furniture industry,” said Michael Sposi, assistant professor of economics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

To get around the tariffs, some furniture stores have changed where they get things made. Mark Schumacher, executive vice president of the Home Furnishings Association, said that’s easier said than done.

“Every retailer is different, but one thing that’s true for all of them is they can’t pivot on a dime when it comes to what they have available in their warehouses,” he said.

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