By Steve Pasierb | President & CEO | The Toy Association
The Toy Association has been tirelessly working on your behalf since proposals for a border adjustment tax arose two years ago right through this very day as tit-for-tat rounds of China tariffs menace the U.S. toy industry.
We’ve been successful going at it alongside a small group of member company representatives, but now is the time for all to take up arms. The threatened fourth tranche of Section 301 China tariffs would sweep up all finished toys made in China. Can your company absorb paying a 10 or 25 percent tariff? Can you manage if your FOB business ceases and requires you first to import and warehouse products in the U.S.?
The time is now! The planned meeting between President Trump and China’s president, Xi Jinping, on December 1 following the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina could be a pivotal moment. Should the meeting not yield progress, that threatened fourth tranche of tariffs could be announced at any moment. Preventing finished toys from suffering a sweep of all remaining imports from China will be an enormous challenge. As you know, we are an industry that cannot substitute or replace our manufacturing base and partnerships built over six decades without investing countless years and risking our excellent record of ensuring product safety.
The Toy Association’s productive advocacy efforts directly with the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce, and across Capitol Hill has helped to ensure officials understand the profoundly negative impact of tariffs on American toy companies, the children who love your products, and quality jobs. As a result, we’ve been largely unscathed through the first three rounds, yet some toy companies have been hit on their raw materials, components, and fixtures. Speaking to and educating the media daily further raises awareness of the threat to your companies and the families that buy your products while our active engagement in Americans for Free Trade, a multi-industry collation in opposition of tariffs, drives home the many benefits of international trade to the U.S. economy. But now we need your individual active participation!
You must get involved. Simple action steps like sending grassroots letters that we can help draft to all your congressional representatives and sharing your individual stories of people employed, local charities supported, and your range of customers served will only continue to bolster the fight. Already these efforts have significantly raised awareness in Washington of the damaging effects to American toy companies, particularly to small and midsize members, but we need significantly more help and can’t stop now.
If you have any relationships with your local members of the U.S. House or Senate now is the time to reach out as a business owner and employer to meet them in person, especially while they will be in their home districts around holiday time. We are continually looking to connect toy companies with reporters so that you may share your stories about the potential harmful impact of tariffs on businesses. Don’t be shy; please reach out to Rebecca Mond, vice president of federal government affairs at The Toy Association, to learn how you can push back.
Our goal is to make certain that finished toys are not on the list, but if or when a next tariff round includes toys, we still need to keep fighting for exclusions or roll-backs and continue to educate those in Washington of the negative consequences tariffs pose to the U.S. toy industry. Companies experiencing increased costs or direct negative impacts on raw materials, components, fixtures, etc., will eventually have to be passed on to consumers. Many companies, especially small manufacturers, simply cannot afford to absorb those costs while it’s often difficult to get retailers to accept higher prices. The concern is real, and the risk is real – and increases with each round of retaliatory tariffs.
These trade tensions do nothing to help the industry’s growth as many still strive to recover from the loss of Toys“R”Us and could ultimately deny children playthings that bring joy and a range of developmental benefits. During this time of disruption and uncertainty, we need to band together, take each other’s backs, and work as one for the greater good of children everywhere. Join us. Again, please reach out to Rebecca Mond and volunteer to serve.
As we conclude the vital Q4 selling season, The Toy Association staff and I wish everyone a healthy, happy, and prosperous holiday season.
Compliments of the Toy Association, a member of the EACCNY