Escalating Rubber Tariffs Between U.S. and China Cause Sourcing Surge


This Thomas Index Report is sponsored by Cumberland Rubber Supply, a supplier of high-density industrial rubber products that are made in the USA.

Welcome to this week’s Thomas Index Report. This week we’re going to take a look at sourcing activity for Rubber by users of the platform. Our data shows that over the past 12 weeks, sourcing activity for this category is up 17% over its historical average.

Our firmographic buyer data shows that three of the top industries driving this trend are Food & Beverage, Construction, and Transportation & Logistics.

While steel and aluminum have dominated reports on tariffs in the White House’s ongoing trade dispute with China, rubber has also been drawn into the fray in rather significant ways. In September, the U.S. imposed 10% tariffs on a huge range of rubber products from China, such as natural and synthetic rubber, rubber chemicals, rubber medical equipment, and rubber auto parts and tires. These tariffs are slated to rise to 25% in January.

China has responded in kind, slapping a 10% tariff on U.S. exports of various synthetic rubber and tire products. The impact on the tire industry is already being seen, with Bridgestone, Cooper Tire, and Kumho Tire USA all announcing recent price increases of up to 8%.

We expect to see more volatility in the tire industry as this trade war escalates with China, which was the largest provider of tires to the US in 2017, exporting nearly $2 billion in product according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

While we haven’t seen a significant impact in sourcing activity for tires on our platform yet, we are predicting that these tariffs will produce an increase in activity similar to those we experienced with aluminum and steel upon the introduction of tariffs on those materials.

In addition to sourcing for Rubber, our data also shows that sourcing activity is up 5% or more in the related categories of Molded Rubber Goods, EPDM Rubber, and Rubber-to-Metal Bonding Adhesives.

Moving on from Rubber, here’s a look at the top 10 industrial product and service categories being sourced on the platform over the past four weeks.

  1. Steel
  2. Printed Circuit Boards
  3. Metal Stampings
  4. CNC Machining
  5. Lumber
  6. Injection Molded Plastics
  7. Manufacturing Services
  8. Corrugated Boxes
  9. Metal Fabrication
  10. Plastic Bottles

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Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.

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