Canadian Pinball Machine Sales, whether new or used, as well as Pinball Parts Sales, are, quite possibly, to use the words of President Trump “going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada” following the aftermath of the June 9th G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, right here in Canada.
Aside from reserving permanent accomodations for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau significantly South of Sussex Drive, the direction the President and his team are leading the simmering Trade War between our greatest Ally and ourselves may well subject many of the parts we use in the maintenance, updating, and reconditioning of the games we buy and sell, as well as the parts themselves sold here on our site, to significant tariffs.
Currently, under NAFTA, we import US goods duty free, and must only remit the GST on the purchase value of the goods based on their Canadian Dollar value on the day of purchase, which we recoup when the item is ultimately sold and the tax collected from the buyer here in Canada based on whatever Province and its associated Sales Tax rate(s) the items are shipped to.
We are monitoring the situation closely, but we do not yet know how many or what Tariffs will be imposed by the US, and which will be imposed by the Canadian Government in the form of reciprocal Tariffs.
One thing we do know is, Pinball Machines (for the most part), are and always have been made in the USA.
With NAFTA looking more and more like a thing of the past, and only the opening salvos having been fired in this trade war, there is no way to tell how Pinball Machines prices will be affected by new Tariffs, but based on the fact that most are made near the border, and retaliatory Tariffs are primarily targeted at areas and industries where Republican support could be tested, it would not be a surprise if coin operated equipment makes the list. And if the threat of a 25% Tariff on automobiles assembled in Canada materializes, as was re-iterated by President Trump as recently as yesterday, the list will grow exponentially.
Another side of the equation is, bringing Pinball Parts into the USA from China will also become a lot more expensive. Tariffs on Chinese products will in turn drive the price of building machines higher, but will also raise the cost of the parts everyone uses to mod and keep their machines running.
Just looking at LED bulb sales, the biggest selling item in Pinball generally, we could be looking at a 25% or greater increase in cost to Dealers in the USA, who also supply Canadian Suppliers like Pinball Medics, resulting in a sudden and significant increase in price to the consumer across the board. And if it happens, it will be overnight, and it will quite possibly be very soon.
We have been in communication with our suppliers, and despite the best advice from their lawyers, accountants, and tax experts, they have no idea of what we will be looking at either in the way of additional costs and how they translate into retail price increases.
On the Canadian side, we have been in contact with CBSA (Canada Border Services), as well as the Finance Department of the Canadian Federal Government, who set the Tariff policies enforced and collected by the CBSA, and have received the same message from them. They don’t know yet.
We are awaiting updates from all these groups and will be contacted as soon as any changes are made, and will post updates as soon as they become available.
Beyond this, despite the current exchange rate being far from favourable to those buying with Canadian funds, it is likely the Canadian Dollar will take a further and possibly very significant beating, compounding the Chinese Parts Tariffs to our US suppliers, the retaliatory Canadian Tariffs, and the further weakening of our currency, to drive the prices of the Machines we love and their associated parts even further through the roof than the current price bubble we have been experiencing in the hobby.
If all these worst case scenarios do in fact materialise, which it appears is very much a possibility, there is one silver lining.
Old Pinball Machines previously left to collect dust as they were not worth the time and effort required to resurrect them, will now fetch a premium that will make them worthwhile as candidates for restoration and resale. From all the basements, garages, and storage facilities of dealers and collectors across the Nation to the back corners of our own warehouse, let us hope that through this challenge we will be led to reap the over ripe harvest of forgotten projects from days gone by.
Pinball Medics is a non-partisan entity, and offers no opinions on politics, politicians, or their policies, whether domestic or foreign, and will only comment on how policies affect or may affect our business directly.