How Are Hawaii Companies Coping with Tariffs?

May 29, 2019

The Port of Honolulu is the single point of entry for all goods coming to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland and foreign ports.
Credit Bernard Spragg / Flickr

In an effort to lower trade deficits and protect American companies, the Trump Administration has levied tariffs on more than $250 billion worth of goods imported to the United States. Many of those products are inputs, goods used by domestic companies to produce their own products. This series explores how Hawaii-based businesses are being impacted by those tariffs.


Stainless steel tanks, imported from China, are a major expense for Kihei-based Maui Brewing Company.
Credit Maui Brewing Company

Tariff Uncertainty Challenges Growth at Hawaii's Largest Craft Brewery

A 25 percent tariff on Chinese-made steel poses “a tremendous challenge” for Maui Brewing Company, according to co-founder and owner Garrett Marrero. Uncertainty surrounding the tariffs has led Hawaii’s largest craft brewer to postpone major capital purchases needed to continue the company’s growth.


Credit Island Plastic Bags / Facebook

Prolonged Tariffs Force Local Companies to Shift Supply Chains

Island Plastic Bags has been manufacturing the product for which it is named in Honolulu since the early 90’s. Since the Trump Adminsitration began raising tariffs on Chinese goods, first to 10 and later 25 percent, Island Plastic Bags has begun a painful realignment of its supply chain.

Credit Vimeo / Dependable Supply Chain Services

Freight Business Sees Overt and Subtle Indicators of Trade War

Dependable Hawaiian Express (DHX) provides freight and logistics services between Hawaii, Asia, and the U.S. Mainland. The company’s President has noticed obvious signs of trade war, like increasing prices, but also more subtle indicators of a slow down in trade between the United States and China.


A technology factory in Zhuhai, China.
Credit G.Tech / Wikimedia Commons

The Chinese Industrial Plan That Helped Spark the Trade War

The Made in China 2025 plan is the Chinese Communist Party's strategic roadmap for economic success in the coming decades. It's also been a major source of angst within thr Trump Adminsitration, helping to spark the U.S.-China trade war. But Guangzhou-based industrial sociologist Boy Luthje says some of those fears may be misguided. He spoke at the East-West Cetner in Honolulu