Harlan Stone Featured in Wall Street Journal Story on Tariffs

New York, NY, August 12, 2019- Harlan Stone, CEO of HMTX Industries, is featured in a Wall Street Journal story “10% Tariffs Were Manageable. At 25%, Businesses Are Squirming.” by Chao Deng about the impact the tariff on Chinese goods has had on his vinyl flooring business. HMTX is the corporate umbrella over the Halstead, Metroflor, Teknoflor, Aspecta and Vertex brands. 

In the story, Stone explains how he looked in every corner to cut costs and thereby minimize the impact that the 25% would have on his customers. 

“These tit-for-tat tariffs, at their new higher levels, are forcing businesses into tortuous calculations and negotiations. How these ultimately turn out will have ramifications throughout the U.S. economy, determining how the higher costs get distributed and what effects they may have on sales, as the U.S. and China dig in for what is becoming a protracted trade battle.

“On average, an American household will pay about $770 more each year under the 25% tariffs the U.S. has imposed on $250 billion in Chinese goods, according to Trade Partnership Worldwide, a Washington-based consulting firm working with industry groups. Consumers’ costs to are likely to rise more if President Trump carries through with 10% tariffs he announced this month on the roughly $300 billion in annual Chinese imports not yet taxed.

“Home Depot’s argument for footing less of the bill, according to Mr. Stone, was that with this type of product, raising retail prices risked driving away customers. Unlike fixing a leaky roof or replacing a broken washing machine, homeowners could put off buying a new floor.

“In another challenge he faces, a rival that makes vinyl tiles in America, Mohawk Industries Inc., has lobbied in Washington in favor of tariffs on China-made goods. This year, Mohawk petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission to block Chinese imports, alleging patent infringement. 

“‘Eighty percent of my time and nearly 100% of my energy goes to dealing with the tariffs,’ Mr. Stone said. 

To read the full story, click here