M2S Bikes, an electric-bike startup, planned to build itself a 100-strong dealer network. Then came the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs on China.
The firm, which employs five people in Asheville, N.C., imports the bikes it designs from a factory in Jinhua City, China, and says it can’t find comparable motors in the U.S. The tariffs would add $425 to the cost of its bikes, which currently retail for as much as $3,250. The dealership idea is now on hold while the company tries to figure out a new wholesale price that dealers will accept and that won’t kill its profit.
The Trump administration says tariffs on thousands of items from ball bearings to circuit boards are designed to counter what it sees as unfair trade practices that give Chinese firms a leg-up over their U.S. rivals.
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