Container Ship

Following a months-long rush that saw retail shipments at major ports rise to record levels in an effort to beat increasing tariffs on goods from China, things have leveled off—for now. New data from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Hackett Associates’ Global Port Tracker shows shipments normalizing with decreases expected in the months ahead. Still, concerns for the toy industry loom on the horizon.

Steve Pasierb, President & Chief Executive of The Toy Association tells The Toy Book that there’s “not a huge issue for toys right now as our peak shipping seasons for toys on the ocean are yet to come this summer,” adding that “the core issue now for toys is the potential escalation of the third tranche of tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on March 1st.”

“Some toy companies are already paying tariffs on raw materials, components and fixtures at 10 percent. They can’t absorb higher costs,” Pasierb says. “The threatened fourth tranche that would sweep-up all products manufactured in China would be devastating for the U.S. toy industry. So, we’re focused on continuing to push back on those two tranches, co-hosting a DC Fly-In in February with Americans for Free Trade Coalition, and we just hired additional communications/PR/lobbying resources in DC should things not go well with U.S.-China negotiations between now and March 1. We must be prepared to get even more aggressive in protecting the toy industry.”

In terms of protection for all, NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold agrees. “Our industry is hoping the talks currently under way will bring an end to this ill-advised trade war and result in a more appropriate way of responding to China’s trade abuses that won’t force American consumers, workers and businesses to pay the price.”

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.