Minnesota businesses, not just farmers, feeling the costs of Chinese trade war

MISCO Speakers says it's feeling the heat over tariffs forced on them by a trade war with China.

A trade group says the United States’ trade war with China is not only hurting farmers, but also businesses in Minnesota.

MISCO Speakers is one of the companies that says the trade war is costing them.

Dan Digre, the President of MISCO, keeps more than 70 workers building audio components that are used around the world. Many of the parts are made in China and only in China. The trade war is costing him a premium price.

Digre said he gets an entry summary from U.S. Customs and Border Protection that lists each shipment into the U.S. and the new tariff.

“The tariff is 25 percent and this was based on a value of a product that had a value of $20,000, so on that particular item, we pay $5,000. And we pay for that when it comes into the country. So, that is money that then we pay right away, we bring it here, put it on our shelf. Now, maybe we don’t sell that for three months, six months, a year, but we’ve already paid a 25 percent tax on that and we’ve paid that, not the Chinese.”

The new data, released Wednesday, shows Minnesota businesses have paid $704 million on import tariffs tied to the President’s trade war with China. American companies spent $72 million in September alone.

Matt Moore, from Quality Bicycle Products in Bloomington, says it’s affecting their bottom line, too.

“And, at current rate, at 15-25 percent on virtually everything, those tariffs add up to about 40 percent of our net profit,” said Moore.

Farmers, too, are still affected by the tariffs.

“We’ve seen a devaluation in particular in our soybean crop of about 30 to 41 percent depending on the type of soybean that it is,” said Kristin Duncanson, of Highland Family Farms.

With that kind of loss in value, Duncanson says it’s hard to say how much longer they can hold on.

For businesses such as MISCO, it’s lost money they can reinvest in product development, like a speaker they are developing with NASA for the Orion spacecraft.

“So, the speaker made here in St. Paul, Minn. will one day end up landing on Mars,” Digre said.

The businesses and farmers we heard from today say they are looking for a fair trade deal to end the tariffs.