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Domestic manufacturers welcome Chinese tariff increase

Published May 13, 2019

FREEPORT, N.Y. (BRAIN) — The U.S. bike industry has largely become an importing industry, but some remaining U.S. manufacturers said they welcome the recent tariff increase on Chinese imports.

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Greenfield Industries has manufactured cast aluminum kickstands in the U.S. for 53 years this month. The company has faced competition from the Chinese for decades, owner Peter Greenfield told BRAIN.

"They've killed us basically," he said Monday. "They steal our designs, they undercut our prices. It's not new, it's been going on for a long time."

"If this (tariff increase) raised the price of Chinese kickstands I would welcome that," he said.

Greenfield also manufactures cast aluminum electric junction boxes and lawn lighting fixtures. He said on all products he's been increasingly underpriced by Chinese and Indian vendors in recent decades.

"Even I get barraged with emails every morning from people trying to sell me Chinese kickstands. I know they are out there ... the problem is that if they come in 10% lower than me and I match it, they will just cut under me again. It's a race to the bottom," he said.

Greenfield employed as many as 110 workers at his factory on Long Island as recently as the early 2000s. Now he's down to about 40 workers.

Unfortunately, it's not clear that kickstands are including among the Chinese products subject to the increased tariff. Kickstands are imported under the code 8714.99.8000, a general heading for parts and accessories for bikes that are not specifically called out, according to a tariff advisory from the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. That code is not on the list of items affected released by the U.S. Trade Representative. 

Although he would welcome some price relief, Greenfield said he wasn't a fan of the trade war.

"I don't see the upside to it. People will have to pay this — it's a tax on poor people. China is not going to pay for it."

About more than price

Another U.S. manufacturer, Ali Yazdian, owner of Alta Racks in Utah, said the tariffs "are about more than price fairness."

Yazdian and his family emigrated from Iran to the U.S. when he was 13 to escape persecution.

"As an immigrant I know and (have) seen the tyranny that exist in most of the world. It is not a fictional thing, it is real. There are countries and people that hate our way of life. It's too bad most American never get to experience it. China's government is one of those, our democracy is direct threat to the communism and how they control their population. To me tariffs are not just about price fairness. It's about spreading democracy and human rights as rights at birth, not given by any nation or government."

Alta manufactures all its car racks in the U.S. Yazdian said the tariffs help equalize the price difference between his products and his competitors who import from China.

"I am baffled by the comments that we can't build bikes and other components here. Since when has the word 'can't' stopped this great nation from accomplishing the impossible? We invented the electricity, refrigerator, air conditioning. We invented penicillin, and eradicated many diseases.

"Lastly the claims that the cost will be passed to consumer, I see that as a good thing. We need to understand and get back to buying products for quality and lasting a life time. The consumerism approach and the throwaway society is killing our planet."

Editor's note: BRAIN visited Greenfield's factory in 2012. A short video is on Youtube

BRAIN visited Greenfield's factory in 2012.
Topics associated with this article: Tariffs

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