US-China trade spat already impacting LI businesses

Posted: Updated:

At 12:01 a.m. Friday, the Trump administration increased tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.

China retaliated immediately. Beijing had said it would also target $34 billion in American goods – including soybeans, pork and electric cars.

Many companies worry the spiraling dispute will chill global economic growth.   

Jon Cooper, the president of Spectronic, Inc. in Westbury, says his electrical and electronic manufacturing company has already felt the impact of the trade war.

“Many of our products utilize components that are either made from steel or aluminum, and whether they are imported...or domestic-made, costs are going up,” says Cooper. “We have already been advised by two of our key component suppliers that costs are increasing between 14 and 18 percent.”

Cooper says the company can either absorb the higher costs and deal with lower profit margins – which could put the company at risk – or pass along those high costs to their customers, which could lead to reduced sales.

“If we have lower sales, that will absolutely affect employment on Long Island,” says Cooper.

Cooper says the worst part about the trade spat is his inability to plan for the future, as no one yet knows how it will end.

Many financial experts say they hope cooler heads will prevail in this trade war that has just begun.

“If common sense prevails, then they will negotiate a solution that will work for both countries,” said Herman Berliner, of Hofstra University.

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