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Small Business Owners, Consumers Worry Trade War With China Could Impact Bottom Line

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- With a trade war with China looming, business owners and consumers are sizing up the potential impact on their bottom line.

Prices may jump for thousands of products, from clothes, to driers, to carpeting. At TP Toys in New Rochelle, there's real dollars at stake for owner Kemesha Salmon even though the play money she sells is made in China.

"It's a limited impact now, because all the toys are ordered and paid for at a set price," she said. "Next year, that will be the problem."

Most toys sold in the United States are made in China, or with raw materials in China. The Trump administration's tariffs could reach 25 percent on some of those goods in January, which would ultimately show up in the price tag.

"When China is hit, my manufacturers will be hit, I will be hit, and so will my consumers," Salmon said.

The new tariffs will hit a wide range of Chinese imports, raising prices on items like air conditioners, TVs, boats, and furniture in addition to toys.

China has retaliated by imposing tariffs on multiple products, including American seafood, snapping off virtually all exports of Main lobsters to China.

Experts say prices may drop for American consumers as a result.

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump called the trade imbalance with China "just not acceptable."

In the past, trade deals have victimized workers and damaged U.S. manufacturing and production. Some industries, including garlic farmers in California, have cheered the tariffs for punishing what they call unfair competition from China.

"What the tariff is going to do is give us the ability to get to more consumers nationwide than ever before," Ken Christopher from Christopher Ranch Inc. said.

The United States Chamber of Commerce, which backed the Trump tax cuts, says the Trump tariffs will eventually hurt U.S. consumers as existing inventory is sold off and new products, hit with tariffs, hit the shelves.

A survey by the Business Roundabout found only two percent of CEOs believe tariffs would have a positive impact on their businesses.

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