PORTLAND, Oregon — Columbia Sportswear Co. is feeling the pain from the US trade war with China, and if the situation intensifies, Chief Executive Tim Boyle says consumers will feel it too.
The Trump administration’s latest tariff proposal on goods imported from China has forced the outdoor gear and apparel maker to spend more time managing its supply chain than its sales operations, Boyle said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. The levies have also led him to put distribution projects on hold.
“We will pass on the prices if we have to,” Boyle said. “Again, this is a tax on commodities that American consumers are going to be consuming, so yes these taxes will be passed on.”
The company had been largely spared financial pain in the initial rounds of tariffs. But the ongoing dispute has sucked up hours and resources it hadn’t planned for. Earlier this month, the US proposed 25 percent tariffs on an additional $300 billion of goods from China, including apparel and footwear. Boyle said the company has moved some distribution projects to countries to take advantage of more stable business regions for the near term.
“This is a very disruptive event for us,” Boyle said. “The big issue is really the uncertainty we face in trying to grow our business; we’re spending way too much time worrying about Mr. Trump’s trade war as opposed to selling our products.”
As for the long term, Boyle said: “Hopefully our business will be around a lot longer than the Trump administration.”
By Joe Deaux and Alix Steel; editors: Anne Riley Moffat, Lisa Wolfson and Jonathan Roeder.