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US-China trade war has caused significant drop in sales, YSU survey finds

Some Northeast Ohio companies have seen an 80 percent drop in foreign sales, the survey found.
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Youngstown State University stock (Mandy Jenkins photo)

YOUNGSTOWN — A third of companies in Northeast Ohio have seen decreases in foreign sales, some as high as 80 percent, because of the U.S.-China trade war, a new survey has found.

The survey of 52 companies in 10 Northeast Ohio counties was conducted by the Export Assistance Network at Youngstown State University’s Williamson College of Business Administration.

Mousa Kassis, EAN director, said in a news release that the survey was launched after EAN noticed a growing concern among business owners and leaders about the ongoing trade dispute.

Among the results:

  • 33 percent of companies surveyed reported a decrease of 5 to 80 percent in foreign sales.
  • 20 percent reported cancellation of orders from foreign buyers.
  • 20 percent reported a decrease in domestic sales of up to 30 percent.
  • While companies reported increased importing costs of 25 percent to 70 percent, 80 percent said their foreign buyers have no plans to cancel future orders.
  • 15 percent of companies have either canceled or delayed plans for investment in capital equipment and/or expansion.
  • 60 percent believe trade relations with China will never be the same.

“Companies and business planners in general are used to taking calculated risk in growing their business, however; fishing in a murky water and uncertainty lead businesses to pause their plans in the best-case scenario, or cancel them all together in the worst case,” Kassis said.

Kassis said EAN is taking several steps in response to the continuing trade dispute, including educational events on techniques available to exporters to lessen risk. EAN also will help companies search for new foreign markets and customers through the International Market Support Program, which expands to more than 70 countries. It also will provide an annual grant for international activities.

EAN is part of the Small Business Development Center at YSU.