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How New Tariffs Impact Interior Designers

September 24, 2018

A round of new tariffs taking effect on Sept. 24 affect 5,745 Chinese goods totaling $200 billion in imports, a move that could seriously impact interior designers.

The initial tariffs start at 10 percent but will climb to 25 percent starting on Jan. 1, 2019. The list of goods subject to the newest tariffs include these common facilities products:

  • Natural rubber, including latex
  • More than 10 species of wood in raw and partially finished forms
  • Wall and ceiling coverings of PVC or other polymers of vinyl chloride with a textile fiber backing
  • Oriented strand board and particle board
  • Cork
  • Bamboo, including floor coverings and screens
  • Cotton and wool products
  • Copper, aluminum, steel and tin products
  • Wood and metal furniture and parts
  • Electric lamps and lighting fixtures
  • Illuminated signs
  • Chandeliers and other electric ceiling or wall lighted fittings

“Unfortunately, China has been unwilling to change its policies involving the unfair acquisition of U.S. technology and intellectual property,” the Office of the United States Trade Representative notes in a statement. “Instead, China responded to the United States’ tariff action by taking further steps to harm U.S. workers and businesses.  In these circumstances, the President has directed the U.S. Trade Representative to increase the level of trade covered by the additional duties in order to obtain elimination of China’s unfair policies.  The Administration will continue to encourage China to allow for fair trade with the United States.”

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In the short term, these items will likely increase in price, which means that designers stocking up on certain products will pay more for them. The rising prices will especially affect certain kinds of furniture, mainly wood and metal, both of which resulted in over $1.5 billion in imports last year.

Previous tariffs introduced in March 2018 targeted steel and aluminum imports and resulted in retaliatory tariffs from a number of countries affected by the policy, including longtime allies Canada and the European Union.

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Janelle Penny | Editor-in-Chief BUILDINGS