By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Local businesses say they are starting to feel the impact of the escalating trade-war with China. New tariffs on goods are putting a strain on all sorts of businesses from lobster exporters in Maine, to an appliance dealer in Weymouth.

“Last year during promo periods we were selling certain washing machines for $499, today $599,” said Alan Stern of George Washington Toma Appliance.

Business owners are feeling the pinch from President Trump’s escalation of the trade war with China and if you were planning on buying a new washer or dryer anytime soon, you will be feeling it too.

What’s going on? After years of suffering from abusive Chinese trade practices, there is bipartisan support for a crackdown. But talks and Trump-era tariffs have failed to produce results.

And now the White House is poised to slap new tariffs on an additional $300-billion of Chinese goods, a move experts say will yield price hikes of at least 25% on everything from smartphones to groceries, to the fridge you store those groceries in.

“When someone’s washing machine dies or refrigerator dies, it’s not really a choice, it’s a necessity,” Stern said. “So the tariffs have become really a tax on the consumer.”

The president is set to meet with Chinese President Xi next month, with both men feeling the heat from increasingly anxious producers and consumers.

“Anytime that the consumer has to pay for a political decision it’s just another tax,” Stern said.

Economists predict the sticker shock from these new tariffs will start showing up in about three months.

Meanwhile the president continues to insist the new tariffs are a windfall for Americans, but polls show that while a majority supports standing up to China, a majority also disapproves of his strategy.

Jon Keller


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