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FAQ: Tariff impact on Hubert Customers

Last updated: May 17th, 2019

What is a tariff?

It’s a tax on a product made abroad. In theory, taxing items coming into the country means people are less likely to buy them as they become more expensive. The intention is that they buy cheaper local products instead - boosting your country’s economy.

What is new?

President Trump has placed tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods from around the world, in particular China. A 10% tariff on certain products imported from China were implemented in January with an additional 15% begin added on May 10th, effectively increasing costs on these items by 25%.

  • The Hubert direct import product assortment from China increased in price by 10% in January and will increase the additional 15% in June.
  • Domestic suppliers that import raw or finished goods from China will also pass along price increases to Hubert of up to 25%.

See attached links for more information on tariffs:

Which products are impacted by the new tariff?

HTS Number
Types of products


Other boxes, cases, crates and similar articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics


Sacks and bags (including cones) for the conveyance or packing of goods, of polymers of ethylene


Carboys, bottles, flasks and similar articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, or plastics


Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics


Articles nesoi, for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics


Articles of apparel & clothing accessories, of plastic, nesoi


Gaskets, washers and other seals, of plastics


V-belts of plastics, containing textile fibers


Floor covering and mats, of noncellular vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber


Articles of noncellular vulcanized synthetic rubber other than hard rubber


Wooden tools, tool bodies tool handles, broom or brush bodies and handles nesoi: wooden boot or shoe lasts and trees


Wood marquetry and inlaid wood: wooden articles of furniture, nesoi


Other articles, nesoi, of bamboo, incl pencil slats, burial caskets, gates for confining children or pets


Baskets and bags of vegetable material wickerwork, neosi


Baskets and bags of vegetable material, neosi


Basketwork and other articles, neosi, of willow or wood


Basketwork, wickerwork and other articles made directly from plaiting materials or from articles of heading 4601, nesoi: loofah articles


Articles of paper pulp, paper, paperboard, cellulose wadding or webs of cellulose fibers nesoi


Glass stoppers, lids and other closures not produced by automatic machine


Iron (o/th cast)/steel (o/th tinplate or stainless), table, kitchen (o/th cooking.) or o/household arts & part n/coated/plated w/prec.metal


Stainless steel, sinks and wash basins


Iron or steel, articles of wire, nesoi


Tinplate, articles nesoi


Iron or steel, articles, nesoi


Carving and butcher steels, of iron or steel, wth or without their handles


Iron or steel household hand tools (o/than carving & butcher steels), and base metal parts thereof


Copper household hand tools and base metal parts thereof


Base metal, nesoi, houisehold handtools, and base metal parts thereof


Base metal, nesoi, handtools (o/than household), and base metal parts thereof


Hand-operated mechanical appliances weighing 10kg or less used in preparation, conditioning, serving food or drink & base metal pts


Base metal castors and base metal parts thereof


Base metal hat-racks, hat pegs, brackets and similar fixtures, and base metal parts thereof


Base metal photograph picture or similar frames: base metal mirrors: base metal parts thereof


Refrigerating or freezing display counters, cabinets showcases and similar refrigerating or freezing furniture


Door assemblies for the dishwashing machines of subheading 8422.11


Weighing machinery having a maximum weighing capacity not exceeding 30 kg


Other boards, panels, consoles, desks, cabinets, etc., equipped with apparatus for eletric control, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000, nesoi


Insulated electric conductors nesoi, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V, fitted with connectors, nesoi


Vehicles, not mechanically propelled, nesoi


Parts of trailers and semi-trailers and vehicles, not mechanically propelled, nesoi


Apparatus for meas., recording or indicating time intervals, w/watch or clock mvmt., battery powered, w/opto-electronic display only


Seats nesoi, w/metal frame (o/than of heading 9402), upholstered


Furniture (o/than seats) of metal nesoi, 0/than of a kind used in offices


Furniture (o/than seats & o/than of 9402) of bentwood nesoi


Furniture (o/than seats & o/than of 9402) of wooden (o/than bentwood) nesoi


Parts of furniture (o/than seats or o/than of 9402), of reinforced or laminated plastics


Parts of furniture (o/than seats or o/than of 9402) nesoi


Electric lamps and lighting fixutres nesoi, of base metal (o/than brass)


Illuminated signs, illuminated name plates and the like, of base metal (o/than brass)

Hubert utilizes a mix of domestic and international vendor partners to mitigate cost fluctuations. The new tariffs will impact products that account for less than 10% of our annual sales volume.

Hubert continues to work with our supplier partners to reduce consumer impact where possible. The focus of our mitigation efforts include:

Hubert is working to minimize the impact from tariffs in several ways:

  • Review and challenge existing HTS Classifications to be sure we are classifying products in the lowest tariff classification possible.
  • Work with suppliers to try to get cost concessions that would help off-set the tariffs.
  • Work with suppliers to move their production to countries not impacted by the tariffs
  • Re-source product coming out of China to other countries, such as Vietnam, Korea, India, Cambodia, who are not currently impacted by the tariffs

The tariff situation may change and Hubert will continue to provide updates and conditions change.

  • When is the tariff applied?
    • On September 30th a 10% tariff was implemented
    • On December 31st a NEW 25% tariff may go into effect
  • Who pays it?
    • Anyone buying goods from Chinese manufacturers and anyone who buys the goods from them as in the case of a distributor like Hubert
  • How can we partner with our customers to shield them from some of the impact?
    • Explain that Hubert is trying to minimize the impact by negotiating our contracts and sourcing more domestic vendors (see above)
    • Run a list of product alternatives for import products purchased by your customer and pro-actively suggest the alternatives
  • How do dated orders work?
    • Dated orders will bill out at the price entered at the time
  • Since we carry several months of inventory on imported items why will our customers begin paying a higher price?
    • We are looking at the fairest way to pass this tariff along. More to come...
  • How much will my prices go up?
    • The tariff is separate from normal annual price increases. Your Hubert rep can show you which products you buy have gone up in price or down in price. Additionally, your Hubert rep can help you identify which products you buy have been impacted and if there are recommended alternatives
  • Can you show me documentation?
    • Yes, Jonel Gray can provide any documentation you customers require
  • I have a contract guaranteeing my price for a year, this doesn't affect me right?
    • If there is a contract ion place clearly stating that tariffs cannot be passed along in the contract term then the answer is "yes"
    • If not, this is a cost to Hubert that we cannot afford to absorb. It must be passed along to all customers. Early indicators show that most customers understand this and other distributors are following the same course of action.
  • Why doesn't Hubert just absorb the cost?
    • Simply put, we can't afford to absorb the cost and hit our gross profit budget delivered to our owners. Hubert merchandising is working to negotiate where possible and look for alternative sources.
  • How do I know if products I buy are impacted?
    • See the complete HTS list of products above
  • Have you already raised prices by 10% on the impacted items?
    • Patti, please answer
  • Will we lower prices if the tariff is lifted?
    • Yes, we are only passing this cost along

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