Knife Importers Dodge Trump Tariff Bullet

On Tuesday, President Trump announced a barrage of tariffs on imports from China. The list would impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports every year. But, folding knives, fixed blades, and finished knife parts imported from China will not be affected. US Officials say they developed the list of 1,300 tariffed items using a system of algorithms with the goal of minimizing the impact on US consumers.

Knives made in China makeup a significant portion of both the budget and high-end markets. 30% of the top 25 best-selling knives of 2017 originated in China, and their relative affordability plays an essential role in their popularity

But, knife making equipment like lathes, surface grinders, and water jet cutters will be subject to a 25% tariff when they originate in China. The increase in price could affect capital equipment costs and make it more difficult for new knife makers who rely on affordable machinery to get their shops up and running.

Aluminum, stainless steel and tool steels that enter the US from China will also be subject to the tax. Scott Devanna, Vice President of Technology for steel distributor SB Specialty Metals, tells us the tariff will likely drive up the price of D2. “Not a lot of D2 is made in the USA today.”

Hours after President Trump’s announcement, China said it would retaliate with its own $50 billion worth of tariffs, which would include US steel. S35VN regularly appear on Chinese knives, but that may change if China follows through with its threat. Discussions between the US government will continue through May 11th. The next major hearing on the tariffs is scheduled for May 15th.

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