The trade wars between the United States and China have affected many businesses in negative ways, and could result in substantial jobs losses across the board. Lost in the conversation, however, are the nonprofit organizations who have also been hurt by the back-and-forth tariffs imposed by the two countries upon each other.
In an op-ed that appeared Monday in the Florida Business Daily, Judith Bannon, the executive director of a Pittsburgh-based organization called “Cribs for Kids,” explained how the “trade wars” between the two nations have negatively affected their company’s mission.
“[O]ur work — and the lives of innocent children — is being threatened by tariffs,” Bannon wrote.
Cribs for Kids produces a portable crib called the “Cribbette,” which is designed to limit the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, in children under the age of 1, according to reporting from the Washington Examiner. The product is sold to vendors across the country, including hospitals and state agencies that provide or sell the Cribbette to lower-income families for low prices.
Nobody knows why SIDS occurs, but there were more than 3,600 deaths in children under the age of 1 for which the cause was unknown in the year 2016 alone, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
The Cribette is built in China, which is unfortunate for Cribs for Kids. Because it is produced in that nation and not in the U.S., the group, which ordinarily isn’t subjected to taxes due to their nonprofit status, has had to raise the prices of the Cribette because of tariffs on Chinese products.
“As a non-profit, Cribs for Kids is not required to pay federal taxes. But with nearly all our supplies imported from China, tariffs are serving as a 10-percent tax that we are forced to absorb,” Bannon wrote in her op-ed.
The higher costs have resulted in many of the nonprofit’s partners simply saying that they cannot afford to buy as many Cribettes.
“Many partners have been unable or refused to pay the cost difference, because they mistakenly believe that China pays for the tariffs — not us,” Bannon wrote. “When our partners can’t afford to purchase cribs, they cannot distribute them to families in their local areas, and we risk reversing the progress we’ve made on reducing the number of infant deaths. Unfortunately, this directly leads to higher death rates among low-income families,” Bannon added.
President Donald Trump began the trade war against China in 2018, according to reporting from Al Jazeera, by instituting tariffs against imports from Beijing to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.
Beyond hurting companies like Cribs for Kids, which rely on Chinese products to promote their causes, the trade war has also hurt U.S. companies that export products to China by about $40 billion since it began, Bloomberg reported in February.