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About the tariff surcharge

The U.S. government recently imposed "an additional ad valorem duty of 25 percent" on many products imported from China. (This is in addition to the existing duty, which is about 4–5 percent for most of the products we import.) The additional duties took effect on July 6, 2018. Products covered by the first round of tariffs include milling machines, lathes, and many of their parts and accessories.

Another round of tariffs – which covers even more of the products we sell – took effect September 24, 2018. The additional duty on these products is currently 10 percent, and is scheduled to rise to 25 percent at the end of the year.

Because of this, we have had to raise our prices on items covered by the new tariffs. Unlike some of our competitors, however, we aren't increasing our prices by 25 percent. We're trying to keep our prices as low as possible and absorb what we can of the cost increase. For most of the items that we import directly, we have raised the price to you by about 17-20 percent. For the items on which the 10 percent additional tariff applies, our price has gone up approximately 7 percent.

What is the "tariff surcharge" shown below the price on the product page?

It's an approximation of the additional duty for that product, and it's the basis for the increase from our pre-tariff price. We break it out that way for two reasons:

  • So that you have a better understanding of our price increase
  • So that we can more easily "undo" the price increase if US trade policy changes

Is the "tariff surcharge" included in the price?


Why do some products show no tariff surcharge at all?

Several reasons:

  • Products that are made in the USA or in countries other than China are not subject to the additional duty.
  • Products that we purchase from an American distributor – even Chinese products that are subject to the additional duty – will not show a tariff surcharge. Although those distribution companies will undoubtedly raise their prices to us, we have no way of knowing how much is attributable to the tariff and how much is due to material cost increases or other reasons. Instead, we (reluctantly) pass on those increases by raising our price, but we don't attempt to calculate the tariff contribution.
  • Some products that are made in China (unfortunately, very few of the ones we carry) are not subject to the additional duty.
  • For a few products that we do not expect to reorder while the tariffs are in effect, we’re selling out old inventory that we received before the effective date.

Why do some products show a tariff surcharge that's way less than 25 percent?

We calculate the tariff surcharge only for items that we import directly from China. (Much of our inventory – even products that are made in China – is purchased from an American importer.) Some of our products, such as tooling packages, contain a mix of products that we import and that we purchase from American distributors. The "tariff surcharge" is the amount attributable to the components of the package that we import.

Also, some products (fasteners and other parts, for example) currently have a 10 percent additional tariff. On those, our tariff surcharge is about 7 percent.


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