ISSA has also demonstrated great concern with the tariffs the U.S. will impose. The association sent the United States Trade Representative in August a letter expressing strong disagreement with the tariffs the U.S. has imposed against China.

The majority of the products related to the cleaning industry that have been or could be impacted by the tariffs are intermediate parts or ingredients manufacturers would use to develop things like mops, buckets, brushes, and cleaning product formulas, says the letter.

The author of the letter, Bill Balek, ISSA’s director of legislative and environmental services, says ISSA’s opposition for the most recent round of tariffs is primarily based on two fears. Its first fear is its belief that the taxing will do little to change China’s trade policies.

“I don’t think round, after round after round of tariffs is the way to go,” he says.

Though Balek does disagree with the way China violates U.S. intellectual property and devaluates the dollar, he thinks a different approach is needed. Balek and ISSA suggest the Trump administration meets with China to develop a plan allowing the two sides to rework their trade practices with one another.

If the U.S. neglects to rework its trade relationship with China and instead sticks with the tariff-based plan it has proposed, ISSA says its second concern will play out: manufacturers of cleaning products will be ravaged by economic issues, especially small to mid-sized manufacturers. An increase in cost for jan/san manufacturers causes them to past those costs down the supply chain, from wholesaler to distributor to the providers of cleaning services.

In some cases, Balek says the manufacturer will not be able to pass down those price increases because they’re under contract. In that situation, the manufacturer will have to examine its own operations to see where it can reduce costs. This then leads to less capital investment and less hiring.

Distributors would be impacted in a similar fashion to any increase in cost they would face. Forced to squeeze already thin margins, distributors might have to increase prices.

“Any time we head down that path from a macro-economic standpoint, it’s not good for the economy,” says Balek. “You’re putting a tremendous drag on the U.S. economy.”

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Taxes On Chinese Imports Could Affect Jan/San Industry