Local businesses brace for impact of tariffs

MEDFORD, Ore. — As President Trump’s threat for tariffs on products from Mexico inch closer, local businesses are bracing for impact.

The taxes on imported products are set to begin Monday, and businesses like Sherm’s Markets are gearing up.

“Prices are gonna go up right away,” said Sherm’s Thunderbird Market General Manager Bob Ames. “With the Mexico trade items, the concern is it’s gonna effect a lot more of the food, the stuff we need daily,” he continued, “and it’s gonna have an immediate impact.”

Five percent tariffs, taxes companies pay to import products from another country, could start Monday for some Mexican products. They include things like vehicles, crude oil and produce.

“If avocados jump and go up a third in price it’s gonna slow them down,” Ames said. “So you kind of got to balance your price increases with making the responsible choice to how do you keep the whole department selling, and at a level that’s good for the customer.”

The president said the tariffs could go up monthly and be up to 25 percent by October. That’s where Chinese tariffs are today, and other businesses like Harry & David are feeling the effects.

“It absolutely has,” said Harry & David president Steve Lightman. “It’s sort of a crime when you think about it, because we’ve got the tariffs coming from China and now we have tariffs coming from Mexico.

Other local companies are in the same position, trying to keep their profit margins the same.

“Give the right value proposition to your customers and make sure you’re servicing them right, so it’s hard,” said Lightman.

“It just is tough that groceries are brought into the middle of this,” Ames said. “It’s one thing to have non-foods, which is also not very appealing, but to have food put into that category, it really effects everybody in a very hard manner.”

A study done by the United States Chamber of Commerce shows an estimated $43.3 million in Oregon imports will be threatened by tariffs on products from Mexico.

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