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Shortage In Chinese Products Could Mean Empty Shelves In U.S.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The label "Made in China" is more common on store shelves than "Made in America."

But that's about to change.

"Literally, empty shelves in Target and Walmart as early as April," predicts David Iwinski, a local China business consultant who once ran a factory in China.

Most retail stores are likely to have shortages because the coronavirus in China is hampering the manufacture of products shipped to America.

Some 780 million Chinese people currently have travel restrictions, keeping many from their jobs, Iwinski told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.

"The factories that have opened in the non-restricted zones, they're reporting to me worker levels at 40 to 45 percent. Sixty percent of their people can't get back."

The impact here?

"Apple announced already having shortages of iPhones. Nike has announced that they're going to have shortages and clothing is coming in short supply now."

"Amazon has a number of products that are simply unavailable."

Over $560 billion worth of products come from China.

While some of these products have alternative sources in other countries, many are exclusively from China -- everything from electric blankets to video game consoles, from cooking appliances to baby carriages.

In fact, Proctor & Gamble just announced that Chinese materials impact 17,600 different finished products.

Other product shortages are expected in clothing, computers, cell phones, shoes and even toys.

So when might this be over?

"We think August, September, this will be a memory," predicts Iwinski.

Tune into the KD/PG at 6:30 a.m. for the full interview.

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