The broom tariff – which includes but is not limited to hand-operated mechanical floor sweepers, mops, and feather dusters, and extends to brushes, paint pads and rollers, and squeegees – is complex, but represents the conditional nature of America's average tariff.
For instance, whiskbrooms valued below $0.96 each are taxed at an import rate of 8% up until 61,655 dozen units have been entered or withdrawn from a warehouse for consumption, at which time an import quota is reached. Whiskbrooms valued above $0.96 avoid any quota but are subject to a tariff of 14%. All other types of brooms are subject to a similar 8% tariff when valued under $0.96, but have a higher quota of 121,478 dozen units. When valued at $0.96 each, these brooms, like their whisk cousins, are free of a quota, but receive the highest duty at 32%.
Despite sweeping innovations like Procter & Gamble's (PG) Swiffer product line, the most efficient broom technology has remained decidedly old-fashioned. Whiskbrooms are made from broomcorn -- also known as sorghum grass -- which can be cultivated by hand and dried to make a thin, stiff, straw-like material known for its durability and, unlike other materials, its ability to absorb dirt. For U.S.-based whiskbroom manufacturers like Newell Rubbermaid (NWL), the cheapest source of broomcorn is Mexico, which is exempt from any of the above tariffs.
It's something to think about the next time you're pushing around dust bunnies.