Amid the battle over tax reform, some small businesses that import goods are focused on a key proposal in the House Republican blueprint, the border adjustment tax, which levies a 20 percent tax on imports.
Certain retailers who rely on getting their goods from overseas are dreading the possible repercussions.
Ledbury, based in Richmond, Virginia, imports 98 percent of its high-end men's shirts from Europe. It does about $10 million a year in business, but the border tax might mean it would have to raise prices or cut workers' hours.
The company is reinvesting its capital into the business in order to continue growing. It retails imported shirts starting at $145 and bespoke shirts made in the U.S. beginning at $225.
"For a business like ours that is running [to] break even, it's going to have negative impacts. I would say this is absolutely the wrong thing to be doing right now — we are in a challenging time, particularly in the retail business," CEO Paul Trible says. The company already pays more than 19 percent in duties on the cotton shirts it imports. Shifting production to the U.S. would be too costly, while moving to an Asian manufacturer would affect quality, Trible argues.