As we head into what will be a long Fourth of July holiday weekend for many, the toy industry can breathe a little easier — for now. Over the weekend, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to “restart” trade negotiations after months of escalating tensions and the threat of the oft-discussed next wave of tariffs, which threaten to tax more than $300 billion in U.S. imports from China — including toys and games.
Following Saturday’s meeting between the two presidents, The Toy Association expressed cautious relief.
“After months of advocacy at the highest levels of government, our leadership role in the Americans for Free Trade coalition, securing top Washington, D.C. firm Hogan Lovells in support of our external affairs team, and our relentless efforts to ensure the toy community’s story was heard in all forms of media, The Toy Association is relieved that the fourth list of tariffs has at least been delayed,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association.
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) issued a member update, reiterating a statement from ASTRA President Kimberly Mosley that was issued in May.
“Our economy depends on small, locally-owned businesses that create jobs and play a central role in keeping the consumer dollar circulating in their communities, where it supports local services through sales tax and invests in neighborhood improvement. Independent toy store owners and the manufacturers who supply the beloved toys they sell exemplify the value that small businesses provide.
Perhaps there are businesses that have the financial cushion and flexibility needed to absorb the higher costs and reduced sales that this latest round of tariffs will create for American retailers. Independent retailers typically do not. Family-owned neighborhood toy stores are unlikely to be positioned to weather the effect.
At a time when market forces are changing the retail landscape so significantly—resulting in the closing of hundreds of brick and mortar stores nationwide — it is more important than ever that our government and business community join together to support fair trade that gives locally-owned toy stores and their suppliers a reasonable chance to survive so that they can continue to bring healthy play to children everywhere.”
Last week, numerous players in the toy and game space, along with several retail partners, testified at the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. just days before the G20 kickoff.
As always, information regarding tariffs on toys and games is very fluid, and the Toy Book will continue to monitor new developments with updates published here.