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One firm's quest to escape Trump's China tariffs

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 21, 2019 - Duration: 02:11s

One firm's quest to escape Trump's China tariffs

When Larry Sloven heard last year that U.S. tariffs threatened his China electronics business, he knew that setting up shop elsewhere would be a slog rather than an adventure.

Rough cut (No reporter narration).

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One firm's quest to escape Trump's China tariffs

The 70-year-old Sloven had spent half his life building supply chains in southern China to produce goods for big-box U.S. retailers.

But he had never reshuffled one on short notice, with tariffs hanging over his head.

"It is the hardest thing I've ever had to do in all my 30 years in the business," said Sloven, president of Capstone International HK Ltd, a division of Florida-based Capstone Companies.

Rising labour costs and tighter regulations in China had already led him to consider moving the business elsewhere in Asia.

But the trade war forced his hand.

Through dozens of interviews and phone, Whatsapp and email exchanges over a year, Reuters documented Sloven's quest to uproot his supply chain operation, an effort entailing many close calls, bureaucratic headaches - and some good luck.

Sloven is just one of thousands of entrepreneurs who have been forced by the trade war to upend their business operations in China in the biggest supply chain shift in a generation.

Companies like Capstone contribute over $200 billion in U.S. purchases of China-made electronics and machinery annually.

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