Washington's tariff hikes against Chinese imports will hit the U.S. toy industry hard with increasing costs and decreased profits, said a senior industry leader.
"Our members are, understandably, very concerned about the potential tariffs proposed on toys," Rebecca Mond, vice president of federal government affairs at the Toy Association, said in an interview with Xinhua via email on Monday.
"These tariffs, which are taxes paid by importers and ultimately passed along to consumers, will hit the toy industry hard given how heavily we rely on China for toy manufacturing and how thin the profit margins already are," Mond said.
U.S. toy companies are still assessing what the impact will be for their companies, she said. "They're looking at ways to mitigate the cost increase, they're looking at increasing prices, and they're looking to try to bring product in early."
"But, for the most part, prices are negotiated well in advance so many will be incurring a significant blow to their profitability," Mond said.
"One thing is clear, however, a mass shift of production out of China is not a viable option for our industry," she said. "The infrastructure, capacity and workforce to meet consumer demand does not exist anywhere else."
"Toy companies are not making mass production changes, nor are they necessarily looking to do so. The capacity does not exist elsewhere," she added.
"Even if these tariffs do go into effect, we do not expect them to be permanent. It does not make sense to make long-term production decisions based on temporary factors," Mond said.
"We are absolutely optimistic that a deal can be reached -- we have to be! The U.S. and China's relationship is incredibly important for our industry and for the U.S. economy," she said.
She said she believes "the final mile in a marathon is usually the most challenging" and the two sides can "reach common ground and push through to the finish line."
The U.S. government increased additional tariffs on 200 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent on May 10, and has threatened to raise tariffs on more Chinese goods.
In response to the new round of U.S. protectionist moves, China has announced that it will raise additional tariffs on a range of U.S. imports from June 1, and "will fight to the end."
The Toy Association, a national trade association representing U.S. toy industry, has 950 plus members and an annual U.S. economic impact of 110.9 billion dollars, according to the group.