How tariffs could affect Jacksonville-area businesses & your bank account

US hikes tariffs on Chinese goods

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The United States on Friday hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%. 

The big concern is how businesses in the Jacksonville area and your bank account will be affected.

The best way to look at this tariff increase is as a ripple effect. China will tax businesses and then businesses will have to tax you to make up the difference. 

Bob Grubba, of Broadway Limited Imports LLC, turned his lifelong passion of trains into a business 19 years ago. 

"The trains, that's where we make all our money," he told News4Jax. "We still do what we do. We still make you trains. We sell them around the world, mostly in the U.S. We sell to about 1,000 hobby stores around the world.” 

Over the past two years, Grubba expanded his business. He now sells shoes that look and sound like a train. All of the products are made in China. 

"With our product, if we were to have a 25% tariff, it would put us out of business," Grubba said. "I don’t think we could pass it on to our customers.” 

Grubba already pays the 10% tariff to import the shoes. The trains have been excluded. But at a certain point, if Grubba has to start to pay the 25% tariff, it’s not just his company that’s at stake. 

“Most of our competitors are in the same situation. They would be gone, too. And then you look at the snowball effect of all those hobby stores -- and they’re little individual hobby stores around the country -- and if they have nothing to sell, then they’re going to go out of business, too," Grubba said.

No matter how small a business, that ripple effect will eventually add up. 

"I’m sure that two shipping containers a month that don’t go through Jacksonville isn’t going to hurt the port, but how many other companies are there like mine? I expect there are quite a few," Grubba said.

Let’s say companies were able to pay the 25% tariff increase. The majority would have to put some of that cost on you, the consumer. One study shows that would be an average of more than $700 per family of four -- money most families do not have lying around.

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