Monday, June 21

Buffett-owned Brooks Running may move out of China due to tariffs

Brooks Running Company CEO Jim Weber said Monday he’s considering moving some operations from China to Vietnam due to the impact of President Donald Trump’s trade war.

Brooks is preparing for a 45 percent tariff on its business, said Weber, CEO of the privately held sports company that’s owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

“We’re preparing for a 25 percent tariff on our business and that’s on top of 20 percent already on running shoes,” said Weber said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “It’s really going to be upsetting for us.”

The U.S. and China are locked in a trade war that’s seen each side imposing tariffs on each other’s products.

Most recently, the U.S. levied duties on $200 billion worth of goods from China, prompting Beijing to put tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

A number of industrial companies in recent weeks, including paint and coating maker PPG and supply distributor Fastenal, have expressed concern about the U.S.-China trade war damaging their businesses.

Last month, Ford, the nation’s second-largest automaker, said it suffered $1 billion in lost profits from tariffs on metals imported to the United States.

Weber told CNBC on Monday that if Brooks moved operations it would likely need to be permanent. “We don’t do musical chairs in our supply chain.”

Last year, Brooks expanded into China and Brazil, after the retailer’s successes in Europe, Japan, and Canada.

Brooks’ former parent company, Russell Athletic, was sold to Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire in 2006. Six years later, Berkshire made Brooks a separate business unit. Weber reports directly to Buffett.

—CNBC’s Lauren Thomas contributed to this report.

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