From birthday parties to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, balloons are a staple when it comes to party decor and celebrations. But the world is running short on the critical element that makes them float: helium. With all of the uncertainty in the helium supply chain and so few sources available, pricing has been volatile and shortages over the last ten years have been common.
For the United States and the global economy, tourism and travel are the unsung heroes of the international trade story. Tourism brings 80 million visitors to the United States every year and accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. exports. Globally, tourism is the third-largest sector in international trade. Above all, tourism and travel promote trade in international understanding and global goodwill.
Nearly 3 in 10 Americans have at least one tattoo. When someone gets “inked,” the pigment injected under the skin is most likely comprised of globally produced and traded mineral powders and the industrial chemical called carbon black.
In September last year, the Trump Administration finalized a list of $200 billion in imported goods subject to tariffs. The list included rubberized textile fabrics, affecting water resistant clothing. Find out how apparel and footwear companies are weathering the storm of tariffs on imports from China.
U.S. footwear production dates as far back as 1750, but today 98 percent of shoes are manufactured abroad. Historically, footwear tariffs have been out of step with the United States’ general approach to free trade. High tariffs on products like shoes hit low-income families the hardest – particularly those with children – as these families spend the highest share of their incomes on home goods that tend to be imported.
At some point between the start of the Thanksgiving holiday and Cyber Monday, did you reach for your credit card or use another secure payment system like PayPal to make a purchase online? You’re in good company: 259 million Americans routinely buy online. Last year, internet sales in China on “Single’s Day” reached $25.3 billion — $6 billion more than what Americans purchased online over the entire Thanksgiving weekend. In the future, the whole world just might be cashless.
Well-known razor makers like Boston-based Gillette already face strong headwinds from changing consumer habits: fewer men are shaving as regularly now that beards are more in fashion. Online subscription services like Dollar Shave Club or Harry’s are also putting pressure on prices and profit margins. Now, razor makers are dealing with the problem of tariffs on the specialized steel they import.
Underwear, panties, intimates, undergarments, bras, lingerie, undies – whatever you call it, American women buy a lot of it every year. Much of it comes from Sri Lanka. In recent years, Sri Lanka has shown it not only makes intimates designed to accentuate a woman’s curves — it’s also getting ahead of the sustainability curve.
In 2016, the United States imported $1.3 billion worth of natural rubber, second only to China as the world’s largest importer. But America’s largest rubber band manufacturer has asked U.S. trade agencies to investigate whether China, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are subsidizing their producers, enabling them to sell unfairly cheap rubber bands.
Despite the diffusion of drug production globally, a full three-quarters of spending on medicines in the United States is on products that are manufactured domestically, by both American and foreign companies.