Original article by Inti Pacheco @ wsj.com
The U.S. has agreed to suspend a planned January increase in tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% from 10%, as the two sides negotiate on trade. But tariffs are already having an impact in kitchens across the U.S., and the truce isn’t expected to soften the blow.
Just about every material you’d need to remodel a kitchen is now subject to the earlier round of tariffs. Many U.S. vendors import the majority of their materials from China. Flooring, cabinets, countertops, sinks, refrigerators and lighting fixtures are on the list of imports from China that now have a 10% tax, as are many of the materials used to make them, from plywood and quartz to stone and granite.
Companies across the construction supply chain have tried to mitigate the impact, including by looking for alternative suppliers in neighboring countries like Vietnam and Cambodia or loading up on inventory in the event that the tax jumps to 25% in January. But many say they have had to raise prices to offset the effects of tariffs. American suppliers are now raising prices as well, as tariffs on foreign products have boosted demand for theirs.
Companies say prices will remain elevated even if the U.S. and China reach a trade deal in which Washington would hold off on future tariffs.
The Wall Street Journal spoke to manufacturers and distributors of the various components of a kitchen to assess the added cost of a remodel. We based our price increases on interviews with individual vendors. For the percentage of the budget that each piece of the job makes up, we used a cost calculator from KitchenCraft Cabinetry, a subsidiary of MasterBrand Cabinets Inc., based in Jasper, Ind.