WISCONSIN - Despite nearly half of more than 200 surveyed Wisconsin manufacturing executives agreeing that President Trump's Chinese tariffs are hurting their businesses, 67 percent said they were "strongly" or "somewhat" supportive anyway.
The survey, conducted by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Foundation over the whole state of Wisconsin, polled 204 C-suite manufacturing leaders, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
“I think the reason for that is, one, in a full year of dealing with tariffs they're going to be better at mitigating the effect on their bottom line,” CEO and president of WMC Kurt Bauer said. “And, two, this latest round that we specifically asked about is aimed at China, which I think a majority of our members (think) is the biggest abusers of trade policy.”
Of the companies surveyed however, more than 41 percent said none of their sales were exports. Bauer said feelings of fair trade were more important than an individual company's loss. This was seen in the comment section of the survey.
Bauer also said Trump's approval rating is very high in Wisconsin's business community. Around 80 percent of surveyed executives approve of Trump, a rate around 30 percent higher than the country average.
The new tariffs, which increased from 10 percent to 25 percent early May, will affect more than $200 billion worth of Chinese exports.
We surveyed more than 200 of our readers to find out how they are being affected by the tariffs. A total of 85 percent of survey respondents expect to raise prices in response.
Specific responses ranged greatly. Some expect great losses of revenue, some are okay with rising costs of material, some expect no difference in their business, and some were more nuanced. Check out the survey results here.
We've also heard from several companies outside of the survey. Cabinet Joint, Sunco Cabinets, CNC Cabinetry, JSI, and others have sent letters to their customers indicating prices would increase or that they could. Trendway Corp., a Michigan employee-owned office furniture manufacturer, has announced its commitment to no price increases in the next 12 months.
Williams-Sonoma anticipated the tariffs, moving production away from China and hiring 500 U.S. workers.

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