Latest Tariffs for Chinese Imports Will Affect the Knife Industry

When President Trump announced more tariffs on goods imported from China in September, it became evident that this time, knives were included. The tariffs, which went into effect last month, start at 10% but rise to 25% at the beginning of next year.

On the recent tariff list, item no. 8211.93.00 consists of “Knives having other than fixed blades,” a description which seems to encompass folding knives. Additionally, item 8211.94.10 and 8211.95.10 cover the base metals used in the blades themselves, both for fixed and folding knives. Most knife companies incorporate an import knife element into their business strategies, so these tariffs could affect dozens of brands. Much remains unclear about the tariff situation but companies who import their products from overseas are already preparing for the worst. Whether or not that means a hike up in prices on the consumer end seems to be unresolved, with companies taking it one day at a time. Kizer Cutlery issued this statement to KnifeNews:

We have been made aware of this change in the inclusion of our product category. In essence, we will hold our prices as long as we are able to, we hope to minimize the impact it will have on our customer’s purchases. We are also considering strategies which might mitigate some of the impact as this trade conflict progresses. Our goal in this matter is to minimize the impact to our dealers and end users.

WE Knife Co. also issued a statement:

Of course WE regret this flaring tariff war for both sides. WE think there will be only losers in this conflict. Yet we have to wait if actually these new tariffs are also meant for our products/folding knives. [That’s] Not totally clear right now. WE have to study the consequences for our company and our business partners in the USA. WE are investigating the possibilities to mitigate the consequences of these higher rates as much as possible. But we have to take into account that prices will rise.

Earlier this year SOG COO Darren Dunn spent time in Washington D.C., working with other knife manufacturers and dealers to lobby for the industry to be excluded from the tariff. Dunn testified before the U.S. Trade Representative and tells us that the end result of the tariffs will affect customers.

While we collaborate with suppliers to gain efficiencies and mitigate cost increases, ultimately some of the additional costs incurred by these tariffs will have to be passed on to our consumers. We believe there should be opportunity for further review, given the serious impacts of the decision will be felt deepest by U.S. consumers. At this point, we encourage full engagement between the U.S. and Chinese governments on these longstanding issues.

SOG currently offers a small number of American-made knives and we are actively pursuing additional domestic manufacturing options. As this situation continues to unfold, it adds additional urgency to find affordable, Made-in-the-USA offerings.