Tariffs expected to impact local businesses

How tariffs will impact your wallet

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -The tariffs the United States imposed on Chinese goods is already in effect, which means you will start paying more for food, clothing, and technology.

In a WTOC consumer investigation, we took a closer look at the financial impact that will really start to be felt at the beginning of the year.

Even though the tariffs went into effect last month, it was only an increase of 10 percent, so as we approach the holiday shopping season, depending on what you’re buying, you may not even notice the slight increase, but you will notice it next year because on Jan. 1, it jumps to 25 percent. The increase impacts goods items like TV’s, furniture, appliances, clothing, handbags, luggage and even cars.

In 2017, the cost of the average smart TV was about $1,200. If you're shopping for the holidays, the 10 percent increase means you could pay about $120 more.

If you wait until after the New Year, you could be paying almost $300 more. Right now, some retailers, including Savannah’s 24e Design Co. are negotiating with Chinese manufactures so that the cost isn’t passed all the way down to the consumer.

In fact, WTOC’s Investigative Reporter Elizabeth Rawlins had to speak to the owner, Ruel Joyner, over the phone because he was on his way to North Carolina to meet with Chinese manufacturers.

"You know, I’m possibly going to get them to try to eat half of it, we eat the other half,” Joyner said.

Joyner says about 30 percent of his inventory comes from China. Right now he says they are not passing along the 10 percent increase to his customers.

“We are able to absorb those costs and try to work through, but when 25 percent comes into play, that’s going to be a little more than we can handle,” Joyner said. “So that’s why we are trying to lean back on those manufacturers as well.”

Regardless of whether companies are able to negotiate a deal with manufacturers, consumers will likely still pay more across the board.

"It may bite a little bit in the furniture industry because I’m a ‘want’ not a ‘need’,” Joyner said.

Joyner realizes these tariffs could have a negative impact on his business, but in the long run he believes in will be worth it.

"I think that anything that can help our American manufacturers, even if it pains us from the beginning, I think is a good thing,” Joyner said.

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