Kris Denzel
Senior Director, International Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


September 10, 2018


In November, my wife and I are expecting our first child. Somewhere between all the doctor’s visits and baby classes, we’ve found a little time to begin shopping for the countless essentials (as well as a few fun gadgets and gizmos) we’ll need as we embark on parenthood.

The last thing we or any parent should have to worry about is paying more than we need to for safe, high-quality baby products – and yet, according to testimony last month from the top executive at one of the industry’s leading companies, that’s exactly where we’re heading due to the emerging trade war.

Started 75 years ago, Graco Children’s Products and its 650 employees in places like Atlanta, GA; Exton, PA; Reedsburg, WI; and Victorville, CA; design and produce innovative products ranging from strollers and car seats to cribs and pack ‘n plays. The company’s U.S.-based engineering and design team has a long track record of providing top-notch safety features and technology.

Due to the escalating, tit-for-tat tariff battles between the Trump administration and some of our nation’s top trading partners, those products may become more expensive for families like mine. Graco now faces the potential for a 10% to 25% tariff on many of its car seats, high chairs, baby swings and play pens – all products that are used every day by parents across the country and around the world.

During a hearing before administration officials in Washington, Graco CEO Russ Torres explained that there is simply no “realistic means of adjusting the industry supply chain, or Graco’s supply chain, to offset the impact of tariffs in the foreseeable future.” That means American consumers – in Graco’s case, families like ours – will bear the burden of the increased costs.

Of course, it’s not just baby products that have been affected. Torres was one of more than 300 business leaders to testify on the administration’s plans to impose an additional $200 billion in tariffs, further fueling the simmering trade war.

“We are very concerned that implementing the proposed tariffs on critical and in some cases legally required child safety products will have negative consequences for the safety of American children,” Torres told the administration. He warned that “imposing the tariffs will force many families to make harder choices between over-extending already tight budgets and ensuring the safety of their children.”

Torres concluded: “Putting tariffs on imported children’s safety goods may have unintended consequences on child safety.”

For months, the emerging trade war has started to take a toll on American businesses and our nation’s economy. Now, the financial implications are starting to be felt by American families and consumers, and soon, as Torres explained, this senseless trade war could risk safety of American children, too.

This has gone on far too long, it’s the wrong approach to solve our trade challenges, and it must stop.

About the authors

Kris Denzel

Kris Denzel is former senior director for International Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.