An American bicycle-maker says President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China cost his business 5-10% in sales in the past holiday season and laments the expanded recent tariffs will keep his company from hiring more employees, he told The Washington Post.
The claims were made in an editorial told to Post editor Sophia Nguyen by Arnold Kamler, chairman and CEO of Kent International, Inc., based in Parsippany, New Jersey, which was titled: “I employ hundreds of American workers. I’d hire more if not for Trump’s tariffs.”
Kamler makes bikes with parts from China and says he has been forced to pass the tariff hit on to consumers and will not hire more workers to expand his business under the current trade conditions, which were 4-10% tax from June 2018’s tariffs and will now be an addition 10%, he said.
“I don’t belong to either political party, and I’ve voted for candidates from both,” Kamler told the Post. “I understand very well that China has been cheating in all kinds of trade situations, from state subsidies to cybertheft. But when the government levies tariffs, we Americans are the ones who end up paying.
“The volatility caused by the trade war has thrown a wrench in my company’s domestic ambitions. Ever since our factory opened, I had planned to bring more phases of the manufacturing process home. We’d start by importing steel tubes and welding the bike frames ourselves; from there, we’d buy American steel and make the tubes. Our factory employs 125 people, but that could grow to 300, I thought: Eventually, we could build 1 million bicycles, right here in the United States.
“But Trump’s protectionist measures are getting in our way. We don’t plan to lay anyone off, but until the situation stabilizes and we have some clarity about our future, we’ll just continue buying bike frames from China.”