How to Negotiate the Trade War If You’re A Small Business

Tariffs Cause Ripples

Let’s talk taxes: not a favorite subject and one which may have adverse consequences for small business. Especially that tax called a tariff.

Tariffs are taxes levied on imports or exports by a country. The USA adds a 10% tariff to iPhones imported from China, and then China adds a duty to USA exports like soybeans. This exchange of taxes initiates a trade war.

Not a problem for a small business as long as it doesn’t deal in agricultural products or iPhone technology, right?. Not really, since tariffs cause supply chain ripples and unintended consequences. A significant duty on imported aluminum may jump the price by 50% for that unique product packaging.

The customer may love that packaging but not likely after a 50% price hike. How can a small business cope with these unexpected price snafus? And trade war escalation for that matter?

Know your supply chain and your suppliers. Negotiate long-term agreements which lock in pricing and slow price increases. Look for suppliers in countries not likely to be affected by tariffs.

Buy ahead of the curve if it makes sense but avoid excess inventory to save a few bucks. The SBA can help, SBA Blog and Links for Tariff Questions, with resources to weather the tariff storm. The best defense against this storm is keeping an eye out for hazards down the road and working with your suppliers and supply chain to negotiate any speed bumps.


Author: Kris Keppeler, writer for Crossing Genres on, and Does This Happen to You? on Channillo. Award winning podcast producer. Follow her @KrisKKAria on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.