NAI to businesses caught in tariff war crossfire: We can help

NAI is helping companies deal with the accelerating tariff dispute with China. (Pixabay)

Manufacturer NAI is helping companies in the industrial technology, telecom, data and medical sectors deal with the accelerating tariff dispute with China.

NAI said that companies are relocating the sourcing of their procurements to North American product facilities due to the conflict.

The company, which designs and makes electro-mechanical assemblies such as box build, panel build and terminal block assemblies, says it is participating in this response. It has a half-million square feet of capacity in the U.S. and can accommodate companies that want to move production to this market. Most recently, it began production in Gaylord, Michigan.

"Many connectivity suppliers do not have the North American production options that NAI has, so we have become a significant resource for customers," said Bill Miller, NAI's vice president of sales and marketing, in a blog. In response, he said, some companies are offering NAI business in Asia for ales to local communities there.

One of the most notable elements of the tariff battle between the U.S. and a number of other countries is just how unpredictable it is. What will happen and the impact of those events may be unknown for quite a while.

Ariel Rubin, the VP of tower development for Vertical Bridge Holdings, told FierceWireless in late June that steel prices have increased in the 8% to 22%-24% range. Rubin couldn't directly pin the increases to the tariff battle, however. Other steel companies have seen increases as well. Connect-It Wireless reported it has had increases of 16%, which has resulted in prices hikes of 5%.

The road ahead is long and uncertain. Moody's Investors Service said in a report that tensions between the two huge economies are likely to escalate during the balance of 2018. They will have a "negative but manageable impact on global growth" according to a story on the report in the Indian site DNA.

Elena Duggar, the chair of Moody's Macroeconomic Board and co-author of the report, is quoted as saying that further steps are expected by the U.S., China and other countries. The impact on global growth inflation is expected by Moody's to be "manageable," but reactions by the markets or erosion of confidence could make the impact more significant.

The longer term issue, which is hinted at in NAI's statement, is potential permanent impact of the tariff battle. If companies that rely on materials and parts from other countries are forced to make new arrangements, such as those hinted at by NAI, there is no guarantee that they will return to the fold once the situation settles. Miller's NAI statement could be taken to mean that companies may be better off doing the work where the finished products will be sold.