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Ace Hardware CEO on trade war: Moving supply chain out of China is not a 'quick fix'

Key Points
  • "Given some of the uncertainty, it's hard to know how quickly to move," says Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen.
  • But in the meantime, the retailer is attempting to get its suppliers to pay for price increases rather than its customers, he adds.
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Ace Hardware CEO: Tariffs continue to be an issue

Ace Hardware CEO John Venhuizen said Tuesday on CNBC that moving the company's supply chain out of China will not help ease any immediate pain due to the U.S. trade war.

About 12%-15% of Ace's business is being impacted by the dispute, Venhuizen told "Squawk on the Street. " "We look to continue to move our supply chain elsewhere but that's not a quick fix."

Retailers, hit by the billions and billions of dollars of tariffs that Washington and Beijing imposed on each others' imports, have been looking for ways to avoid raising prices.

"Every retailer is dealing with tariffs," said Venhuizen, adding that Ace is attempting to get its suppliers to pay for price increases rather than its customers.

Illinois-based Ace, the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative, has more than 5,200 stores in about 70 countries.

Meanwhile, one of Ace Hardware's suppliers, Stanley Black & Decker is trying to move its manufacturing out of China.

CEO James Loree told CNBC last week that the tool company is building a plant in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way to diversify its production base.

"This [plant] is the beginning of something big. It doesn't matter what happens with this trade war," Loree told CNBC's Rick Santelli. "There's a nationalistic trend going on, and ultimately there's going to be a lot of migration going back to developed markets in Europe or developed markets in North America."

Connecticut-based Stanley Black & Decker is also making adjustments. "When you finally add it all up, I mean, the price recovery against the tariffs only amounted to about 40%," Loree said last month. "There was a big chunk of inflation-related cost that was not covered by the price as well as some of the tariffs."

At Ace, Venhuizen does not expect tariffs to be a lasting issue, but acknowledged that business is being affected.

Moving its supply chain is a longer-term solution, he said. "Given some of the uncertainty, it's hard to know how quickly to move," but he added that "it is a lever that we are pulling."