As I write this letter at the end of May and beginning of June, everywhere we turn, there seem to be trade fires burning. Steel and aluminum waivers were rescinded for the EU, Canada and Mexico. China duties appear set to be announced later this month to the tune of an additional $50 billion in imports. And everybody is saying thank you by adding their own reciprocal duties on our products.
This is what I wrote in my own company's weekly newsletter that went out today:
Trade is under siege here in America. While the reaction from many is to say, "It's only 'x' percent on 'y' commodities from 'z' countries and it's not like it affects me directly," stop and think about that for a moment. Companies budgeted for their landed costs and now need to find and deposit additional double-digit percentages for their raw material inputs or finished goods. How does this affect their planned growth, hiring, expansion or other capital investments?
Think about how we, the trade, react when a carrier announces a fuel surcharge, a GRI or any kind of rate increase. We fight tooth and nail to mitigate it. There's no mitigating the additional duties that are being collected.
If you're a US producer or exporter of any number of products grown, raised, manufactured or even distilled, your customers might slow down or cancel orders in response to our trade moves because your products are now too expensive. Sorry, they'll say, but they'll purchase them from another country without the punitive tariff barriers.
With few exceptions, the United States doesn't have the exclusive market on making "stuff". Our trading partners know what products and brands are uniquely American and their retaliation is and will be targeted at those singular products.
If America is going to continue to be a part of the global economy and not watch cargo from one country pass over, around and through ours en route to buyers and sellers elsewhere, we're going to have to ask ourselves what trade and commerce mean going forward. If we feel strongly that the policies are adverse to the interests of our businesses, then we need to work together to blunt, mitigate, stop or change the path we're traveling.
The figures show that air cargo was up between four and five percent, year on year in April. Overall, the forecast is for between four and five percent growth in 2018. What happens to those consumer electronics from China that we order, or the distilled spirits from the United States that EU member nations or countries throughout Asia order when the punitive duties make it prohibitively expensive for consumers to purchase?
To alter Gordon Gecko's line about greed from the movie Wall Street, 'Trade is good. Trade works."
Trade gives us jobs. Trade grows our companies. Trade is what we need more than trade barriers.
Talking Tech With Fred
Get ready for our luncheon this month with Fred Werginz of CHAMP Cargo Systems - we're all drowning in paper that prevents us from sharing information and data that help businesses make good decisions. Fred will be here to talk about EDI and other ways that businesses can communicate electronically and share information that makes everyone's work better, more productive and more profitable. Register here.
The golf outing is open for registration - August 7th is the date, Bridges of Poplar Creek is the place.
This one's on me with travel this month at the NCBFAA and CNS Partnership Conference, both of which were highly informative and educational. Your IACAC board was well represented across both conferences with Brian Bartolotta, Olya Lebedyeva, Chuck Menini and myself in attendance at one or both events.
Golf is now open and we kept the pricing for golf identical as last year - $400/foursome, $125/individual that includes breakfast, golf, your cart and lunch. Lunch is $45/person this year, up slightly from last year to cover our increased costs.
We have also made a change to the sponsorship pricing for holes and signs and letters will be going out to last year's sponsors with all the details including their opportunity to sign-up again for the same signs / bridges / holes as last year. On-course sponsorship is now $300 and will include two people for lunch. Any additional staff will be at $45/person. To differentiate the value between on-course and a sign sponsorship, a sign-only sponsorship will be $200 and will be placed on select holes and/or bridges on the course.
Watch your inbox and your office to be flooded this month with all the details.