FedEx CEO expresses concern over Chinese tariffs

FedEx CEO expresses concern over Chinese tariffs

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - FedEx chairman and CEO Fred Smith expressed concern over the growing trade war between U.S. and China.

Smith's expressed the importance of free trade during an earnings call Monday.

"Clearly the U.S.-China trade dispute that took on even greater prominence today with the administration's announcement is worrisome to everyone," Smith said.

Smith was referencing the announcement that the Trump administration would put tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The tariffs are in addition to $50 billion levied by the U.S. earlier this year.

Tuesday, China retaliated by announcing $60 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. goods, in addition to ones previously levied.

"History is very, very clear countries that pursue the most open markets are the ones that prosper the most and whose citizens income increases the most," Smith said.

Megan Nichols covers FedEx and is associate editor at the Memphis Business Journal. She said Smith's comments are no surprise.

"Fred Smith only speaks out on issues he thinks are important so when he does speak out people listen," Nichols said. "Free trade has been something he's taken a very strong stance on since 2016."

What remains uncertain is the impact on FedEx.

Executives said they believe the impact would be minimal, but said some customers could make changes.

If the trade war rages on, other firms in the region might see impacts on their bottom line and pass it on to you.

The tariffs are set to impact things like food seasoning, machine parts, and network routers.

"If tariffs continue to be a thing you could see it for a lot of Mid-South companies," Nichols said.

The Wall Street Journal reported most retailers have already ordered their products from China and will likely escape the tariffs for the holiday season--but the same can’t be said about those items for the Spring.

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