eBay on its eBay Main Street blog published a statement raising concerns for small businesses potentially getting tangled up in President Trump’s trade wars with China, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.
The statement reads:
“After campaigning on protecting American jobs from foreign competition, President Trump and his administration have announced and implemented tariffs on a number of products that are imported into the U.S.
So far, tariffs have actually been implemented on $85 billion worth of goods, including solar panels, washing machines, steel, aluminum, and a variety of Chinese products.
A number of countries have retaliated with tariffs on U.S. products, bringing the global total of goods being targeted to $165 billion. Additionally, tariffs on two more groups of Chinese products to total $216 billion have been proposed by the administration, and it is also in the process of investigating tariffs for imported autos.
So what does all of these mean for eCommerce? So far, the impact on consumer goods has been relatively limited. But with supply chains that are more globally integrated than ever, the real impact of these actions may not be clear for some time.
Meanwhile, the federal GR team is engaging with policymakers every day telling the story of small businesses that are trading globally and talking about the importance of free trade.”
eBay is Major Global Trade Facilitator
For eBay, there is a great concern in the trade war rhetoric.
According to its own data, 97 percent of eBay-enabled small businesses export, compared to only 1 percent of traditional businesses.
The company also states that eBay small business sellers reach an average of 17 different foreign destination markets and 61 percent of small business sellers reach customers in four or more countries.
eBay also has a significant investment in China where it helps Chinese companies reach global customers through its platform.
Some U.S. eBay sellers may not be shedding any tears when it comes to eBay’s investment in China potentially being impacted by the trade war as Chinese sellers have been a thorn in the side to some sellers for years.
Investing and advancing global trade in China seems at time to run counter the marketplace’s stance of not being a competitor to its sellers.
In a trade war, small businesses could be hurt the most, even if eventually the situation calms down and agreements between countries settle the big picture issues.
But small businesses often do not have the capital or credit lines to manage even a temporary slowdown in sales because their goods are impacted by tariffs. This is especially acute with micro businesses operated by one or two persons.
While eBay’s concerns are valid, the company may have ulterior motives because of their active investments in China to promote cross-border trade.
So it is a bit of a mixed bag here for eBay sellers depending on if they purchase their goods from China, sell to countries that are retaliating on trade tariffs, or if the tariffs may help make their product more competitive in the domestic or some international markets.
Have you been impacted negatively or positively by the trade wars? Head over to our Facebook Discussion Group or use the comments section below.
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