Interview: Tariffs would dampen firework displays in U.S. backyards

2019-05-29 13:55

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by Xinhua writers Liu Yang, Yang Dingdu

WASHINGTON, May 29 (Xinhua) -- On special days in the future, American families will have to make do with less splendid firework displays in their backyards should additional tariffs on fireworks go into effect, Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA), told Xinhua.

Fireworks is among a list of about 300 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese products that the Trump administration threatened to slap additional tariffs earlier this month.

Heckman fears the tariff will be passed onto the consumers so that U.S. families won't be able to celebrate their special days and occasions with fireworks as they do today. "Our families only have the budget of so many dollars, so they will probably spend those dollars and get less," Heckman said.

In addition to families, public events will also be affected. While cash-rich metropolitans may be able to continue with their extravagant firework shows, smaller cities and townships will feel the impact. "It will present hardship for them to have firework display. I don't think they will be able to absorb 25-percent increase in cost," Heckman said.

The majority of fireworks sold in the United States come from China, the world's leading supplier. Fireworks were originally invented in China in the ninth century to scare away evil spirits on the New Year.

For generations, U.S. importers have been working closely with Chinese manufacturers. It took a lot of time and efforts to ensure the products meet the U.S. regulatory requirements and "no other country can meet the volume of the demand the U.S. has for fireworks," Heckman said.

People in the United States spend more than 1 billion dollars on fireworks each year and the figure has been steadily increasing for years, according to the APA.

Ever since the China-U.S. trade tensions flared up in 2018, the fireworks industry has been stocking for fear of possible tariffs.

Heckman is confident that Americans will still be able to enjoy splendid displays for Independence Day celebrations on July 4. But she is not so sure about New Year's Eve. "Anything that comes after the tariffs go into effect will be impacted".

Even well-stocked retailers will have to raise prices to compensate higher costs in the future. Heckman hopes the threat of additional tariffs will never become reality. "We oppose tariffs completely," she said.
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