Community Issues

China Trade Tariff Fight Could Fizzle Your Fireworks

Why the tariffs could tack 25% into the cost of fireworks and what you can do.


Fireworks on the 4th of July are about as American as apple pie. But the trade war with China could throw cold water on everyone's backyard or community Independence Day displays next year.

As President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping prepare to meet at the G-20 summit in Japan to discuss the trade war between the two countries, fireworks are one of the products on the table. The president has already imposed a 25% tariff on $200 billion in Chinese products, and the tariff could expand to $300 billion more , including fireworks -- from the street corner sparkler to the huge displays that light up the skies over cities and towns.

Experts predict communities will have to cancel fireworks displays.

"You tack a tariff on goods when they come into the U.S. to put the U.S. producers in a better position," explained William Weimer, a VP at Phantom Fireworks, the leading retailer of consumer fireworks in the U.S . The problem is, there are no large-scale fireworks manufacturers in the U.S., with 99% of backyard fireworks and 75% of professional grade fireworks coming from China.

It doesn't take an economics degree to figure out what will happen when there's a 25% tariff slapped on Chinese fireworks, and no U.S. producers to provide competition. "Sooner or later some of that has to be passed onto the consumer," admitted Phantom VP of Sales Jerry Bostocky. He told Sparkt his company might be able to absorb a little bit of the added cost, but not most of it.

Even small fireworks like sparklers could go up in price 5-25%!

He says higher prices will lead to reduced sales and lower profits, resulting in fewer jobs, less taxes paid, and less money for non-profits that sell fireworks as fundraisers. More expensive professional grade fireworks will mean scaled back or cancelled community fireworks shows, which are struggling already ( Sparkt: One Man Fights to Save His Town's Fireworks Display ) .

Weimer says Phantom wants the U.S. to get the best trade deal possible. "My business is Americana. We're American through and through." But they're not in favor of tariffs that don't make economic sense. "This won't hurt China one bit."

"We bleed red white and blue." William Weimer, Phantom Fireworks

What can you do? Write to the president, your senator and member of congress (click here to find out how), and demand: Don't put fireworks on the Chinese trade tariff list . Otherwise Weimer says, "it's going to mortally wound the fireworks business." And take the bang out of next year's Independence Day.

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