Lydia DePillis joined ProPublica in 2019. Before that, she covered national economics issues for CNN Business, Texas’ economy for the Houston Chronicle, labor and the workplace for The Washington Post, and the business, culture and politics of the technology industry for The New Republic. DePillis was also previously a real estate columnist for the Washington City Paper, where she authored its award-winning Housing Complex blog. Her work has appeared in the New York Observer, Pacific Standard, Slate and various trade publications. She’s from Seattle, and is based in Washington, D.C.
Washington’s influence industry, including former Trump officials and allies, has made big money helping companies get exemptions from tariffs — sometimes by undercutting small business owners like Mike Elrod.
A tariff loophole lets companies ship small boxes across the border duty free. So the huge shipments are now heading to warehouses in Canadian and Mexican border towns, instead of the U.S.
Tariffs are hurting U.S. companies’ bottom lines. Free Trade Zones, a 1930s rule which they can use to shield themselves from those costs, require expensive legal help. One Michigan manufacturer called it “a no-win situation.”
Baseball is America’s pastime, but prices on its China-made gear are about to rise as the trade war escalates. Golf, lacrosse, basketball and other sports will feel the pinch, too.
Products won exemptions from the U.S. Trade Representative for “health, safety, national security and other factors,” but the criteria remain unclear.