His Company Makes Speakers. Now He's Speaking Out, Opposing Tariffs.
President Trump's trade war looks like it's backfiring for many of the nation's factories manufacturing activity has slumped in recent months and analysts say the ongoing tariff battle between in the US and China is partly to blame NPR Scott horsely reports on how the trade war is affecting one manufacturing company in Minnesota. The MISKITO Speaker Company in Saint. Paul Minnesota is celebrating. Its seventieth anniversary this year Dan Degrees Das- started the company after serving in World War. Two and he was a b seventeen radio cooperator and came back to the United States and married a woman with a bad radio. The radio wasn't bad but the speaker was bad so he started his own speaker repair repair business in. Its early days. Moscow made rugged outdoor sound systems like these good evening folks at a hearty welcome to our drive in theater today. The company employs about one hundred people in a state of the art factory near the Minnesota State fairgrounds. They assemble a wide variety of speakers for musicians home theater bus. Even restaurant drive-thrus degree says there used to be a big speaker industry in the United States but over the last two decades most companies moved offshore and their suppliers moved with them. Either suppliers tires went to China or they probably went out of business. Degree kept his factory in Minnesota but he relies on some components imported from China since last. Fall all these had to pay tariffs on those components which are now twenty five percent if he built the whole speaker in China like some of its competitors he'd pay less diggers tried to pass some of the tariff airfield onto customers. He's also asked his Chinese suppliers for a tear of discount but his company has had to absorb most of the extra cost. It comes out of our bottom line and that's the money that we need to be reinvesting in new technology in new products. All of the things that makes your business competitive in a global global economy every time degree imports components from China. He gets a bill from. US Customs saying how much IOS in tariffs. He surprised how many Americans mistakenly believe that. A China is footing the bill. Maybe that's because president trump keeps insisting that China's paying the tariffs recently trump told Fox News. He's in no hurry to make a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He wants to make it much more than I wanNA make it. I'm not anxious to make. It would take it in hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs offs. We never took in ten cents. The actual tariff bill is tens of billions of dollars hundreds of billions for China to foot that bill researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York said Ed last week Chinese suppliers would have to cut their prices by about twenty percent so far the price of Chinese imports fallen. Just two percent. Tennessee congressman. Jim I'm Cooper complained that a hearing last month Americans are paying the rest. This is a tax is not on foreigners. This is attack our own people at his speaker factory. In in Minnesota Dan Degree says the higher cost of components is not the only problem. A tweet could come out this afternoon. That could dramatically change a tariff-rate straight economists say that uncertainty has many business owners holding their breath reluctant to make decisions or investments. And that's I think. One of the drags that that American businesses are feeling right now. None of us know what it's GonNa look like year in two years even two weeks this week. Degrees traveling to the Philippines aims to look for alternative components. Could buy without having to pay a tariff. We're trying to keep building speakers here in the US but there's only a couple of us left in the country entry to do it and Now if these terrorist go on a lot longer. I don't know if they'll be anybody left in this country does that ultimately degree says he might have to move his whole factory overseas. Cutting the one hundred jobs exactly the opposite of what the president said he wanted when he started this trade war.