Trade War Causes Drop in Foreign Sales for NE Ohio Companies

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A third of companies in northeastern Ohio have seen their foreign sales drop as a result of the trade war between the United States and China, according to a survey by Youngstown State University.

The university’s Export Assistance Network surveyed 52 companies in 10 counties and found that 33% of companies saw foregin business decline between 5% and 80%, while 20% reported order cancellations from foregin buyers.

“Companies and business planners in general are used to taking calculated risk in growing their business, however; fishing in a murky water and uncertainty lead businesses to pause their plans in the best-case scenario, or cancel them all together in the worst case,” said the Export Assistance Network’s director, Mousa Kassis, in a statement. “Going forward, it will require that economic development agencies and company’s business planners have to work together to embrace for the worst-case scenarios and to find ways on how to mitigate the risk.”

Also in the survey, 20% reported a decrease in domestic sales, 15% have cancelled or delayed plans for capital investments or expansion and 60% believe America’s trade relations with China will never be the same. 

Companies also report a rise in importing costs of between 25% and 70%, but 80% of respondents said they have no plans to cancel future orders.

In response to the trade war between the U.S. and China, the Export Assistance Network will be hosting additional educational events, Kassis added, and will be helping companies search for new foreign markets through the International Market Support Program, as well as provide annual grants for international business. The application cycle for that program is now open.

For more information, call 330 941 2145 or email

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.