As fireworks retailers across the US prepare for Thursday night's celebrations across the country, many are worried trade tensions with China and potential tariffs could hit their products.
The trade dispute between China and the US had threatened penalties of 25 percent imposed on fireworks imported from China.
Phantom Fireworks, the leading fireworks company, says no other country could match the expertise and the experience China has in firework development.
"Maybe we could absorb a couple percent,but we are going to pass on at least 20 percent of the 25 percent tariff to our customers," said William Weimer, vice president of Phantom Fireworks. "And the customers are going to react, as you would expect, very negatively. they'll buy less. our business will go down. it would be disastrous."
The US commercial fireworks market has almost doubled in size over the last decade from $500 million in 1999, to $945 million last year.
Julie Heckman, executive director for the American Pyrotechnics Association, told the Daily Chronicle that fireworks industry leaders are concerned about the potential tariff from a retail sales point of view. She said 99% of backyard consumer fireworks are manufactured and imported from China, along with 75% of professional display fireworks
Heckman said local governments already are cash-strapped for their fireworks shows. Instead, they rely on sponsors or online fundraising to fill in the gap.
"So we're really concerned that those small townships and municipalities might not be able to afford an Independence Day fireworks show and their skies could be dark next year," Heckman told the online newspaper.