Higher prices to come from U.S.-China trade war

Local News

Starting June first, the U.S.-China trade war could boost the cost of living in Hawaii.

The amount of the increase is not yet clear.

Various estimates say the Trump Administration’s tariffs on China — could wind up costing American families between $500 and $2,300 a year. 

It’s hard to tell what won’t be affected because the tariff list is 194 pages long.

The list includes staple food items found in most Hawaii households — like shoyu.

Tons of different cosmetics — like eye shadow — also are included on the list of thousands of everyday items.

All could become more expensive.

Lori Endo says as long as her appliances hold up, she thinks she’ll be okay. However, a soon-to-be family member who just bought an apartment may have to buy big-ticket items quickly.

“And you know, with the large mortgage that they are probably carrying, you know they’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to manage so that they won’t have to pay even more money on items that may be affected by the Chinese tariff.”

Gregory Massa says it’s already affecting him.

“Well it’s affecting the stock market, which affects me, it’s affecting the average American, it’s going to affect the air conditioner that I want to buy in the next month. I’ve been told to buy it soon, because appliances are going to go up.”

Local manufacturers are also trying to calculate the impact to their costs — and whether consumers will have to pay more.

Gary Yoshioka is president of Diamond Bakery — and serves as vice president of the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association.

“Diamond Bakery’s been like most other companies that have already been discussing this with their suppliers and their folks directly in China, so everybody’s trying to understand what the impacts might be and how it’s going to play out, but that’s all still literally you know, underway right now.”

He says there is no need to panic-buy — that consumers should take a wait-and-see approach. Yoshioka says local manufacturers and their retail partners are going to handle the impacts in the best way possible.

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