How 4 companies struggle to overcome Trump's commercial uncertainty



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Until now, American Textile has been able to avoid passing on higher import costs to its customers, but this may not be an option anymore. Mr Ruttenberg said that it seemed inevitable that he should inform retailers that prices were going up.

In the meantime, future investment projects are on hold until the Trump administration clarifies its strategy.

"I would say we are in the waiting," Ruttenberg said.

On Friday, e-mails about the latest escalation of Mr. Trump's trade war began to invade the inbox of Ron Romero, owner of Schaefer's TV and Appliance Center in Lincoln, Neb.

Mr. Romero had given up calling emergency tariff meetings when the president's trade declarations had become such a shifting target. After the last spasm on Friday, he decided to hold his breath until the manufacturers told him that the prices of the products he was selling would be up.

Manufacturers tend to give 30 to 90 days' notice before raising their prices, he said. There was no idea what Mr. Trump could do during this time.

Prices for some devices at Schaefer have already increased by almost 7%, Romero said. Some devices that it imports have components made in China and others, such as televisions, are manufactured there and exported to the United States.

Consumers are changing their shopping habits accordingly. Romero said refrigerator market buyers are giving up more expensive units and opting for a $ 1,000 refrigerator instead of a $ 1,250 refrigerator, which would reduce profits.

"I am disappointed with the way this is coming and going and is not leading to some sort of solution here," said Romero, referring to Mr. Trump's style of negotiation. "I only hope that with the upcoming elections, it will make a decision one way or another and move on to something else."

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