SPOKANE, Wash. — There are a lot of local businesses that could be impacted by billions of dollars of potential U.S. tariffs on China.
The leaders of Old World Christmas on East Main Avenue recently made a trip to Washington D.C. to make a plea for Christmas ornaments.
Doug Lauer is the President of Old World Christmas. The company makes roughly 1,500 different types of ornaments.
"A clay mold is created to replicate the design and a steel mold is made from that and then they take Pyrex glass tubes pour it into the mold and they blow it by mouth and this is hand-painted," Lauer said.
The ornaments are designed locally but hand blown in China. Which is why Lauer’s trip in June included a stop in Washington, D.C.
During his trip, he urged a panel at a U.S. Trade Administration hearing to take Christmas ornaments off a list to get hit with a 25 percent tariff with China. He said it would not only hurt his business, but the roughly 3,000 retail businesses who sell his ornaments.
"These are brick and mortar, small mom and pop stores…they would lose a lot of business," he said. “In the end it just would have been a 25 percent higher price for U.S. families.”
Shortly after the Lauer's testimony he was pleased to learn President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping called a temporary tariff ceasefire of sorts.
"So we're hoping that we don't see it later this year but for the time being it's good news," Lauer said.
However, on Tuesday the President delivered a public warning to China saying, "We have a long way to go as far as tariffs where China is concerned, if we want. We have another $325 billion we can put a tariff on, if we want."
The team at Old World Christmas won't get too comfortable yet. They hope Christmas doesn't become collateral for something entirely different.
"There is still the issue with the stealing of technology which is what's really behind all of this and I don't think putting tariffs on Christmas ornaments is going to change any of this," Lauer said.
Old World Christmas is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until the end of July.