Electronics, furniture, and specialty steel companies are hit hard by Trump Tariffs. Some ponder moving operations.
Trump promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. In reality, Trump Tariffs Send Jobs Away.
EBW Electronics: "It's killing us," said the chairman of the company, Pat LeBlanc, 63, a Republican who voted for Mr. Trump. He now expects the president's tariffs will chop his 2019 profits in half. "I just feel so betrayed. If we fail because the company is being harmed by the government, that just makes me sick."
"It's a tax that comes right off the bottom line," said EBW's president, Cory Steeby. "It totally incentivizes you to move out of the United States and build either in Canada or Mexico. These are active conversations right now."
If Mr. Trump follows through on threats to raise tariffs to 25 percent, EBW and its 230 employees could face dire circumstances. "At 25 percent, we are not making money," Mr. Steeby said. "There's a threat that you cease to exist, or there's a threat that jobs move to Mexico."
Bilco Products: "Even though it's hurting me, I hope we have the guts to stick it out," said Tom Sligh, president of Billco Products, which makes cabinets, dressers and other furniture for hotels at three factories in Holland. Mr. Sligh relies on imported quartz countertops and metal parts — door handles, gliders and other hardware — much of it made in China. The tariffs have increased his costs by 10 percent, he said, but he has not been able to pass them on. He recently lost a bid to outfit a hotel in Grand Rapids when a Chinese competitor offered less than half his price.
Supporting Trump on tariffs is downright idiotic, but Tom Sligh is one of those true believers. Ironically, Sligh shifted to suppliers in Vietnam, Malaysia and India because the parts he needs are not available in the United States, or are wildly expensive, he said.