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Business owner to Trump: Drop the tariffs

Jason Trice has one message for President Trump: Your tariffs on Chinese goods are devastating my business.

The president and CEO of Oklahoma City’s Jasco Products is one of more than 300 companies testifying before the U.S. Trade Representative. He told Yahoo Finance’s “The First Trade” that Jasco has already paid “millions upon millions” more to import items for sale here in the U.S.

“Tariffs are taxes, and American consumers and U.S. businesses are paying the taxes,” Trice said. “Over 92% of our business has already been impacted.”

Trump is expected to meet with President Xi Jinping of China this month in Japan, has escalated his trade war, increasing tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports and threatening 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese products.

Jasco’s 400 employees design and distribute electrical products under the GE, Honeywell, Philips, Energizer and Disney names, ranging from Star Wars night-lights and smart home controllers to high-end cables. The products are sold at major retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Amazon.

In prepared testimony, Trice said tariffs “cripple Jasco’s ability to generate profits” and warned the measures are causing “irrecoverable damage” to the business.

Impact of Tariffs by State

“The administration’s over-reliance on tariffs as an all-purpose foreign policy tool creates unpredictable and artificial market disruptions that are not conducive to a healthy business environment,” he wrote. “Tariffs at 25% exceed Jasco’s operating margins and, absent efforts to mitigate and offset the financial impact, would immediately convert the business our team built from profitable to unprofitable.”

Almost everything Jasco sells is made in China, and while the President Trump thinks companies like Jasco should bring manufacturing home, Trice says they simply cannot.

“There’s no factories in the world that have both the technical capabilities as well as the production capacity to immediately replace all the production we’ve built in China over the last 40 years,” Trice told Yahoo Finance. “It will take years and tens of millions of dollars to redevelop our products and to ramp up production in other countries.”

And even if they did, prices would go even higher and that could be the end of their business.

“Consumers don’t want to pay $30 for an HDMI cable,” he said.

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