NEW YORK (AP) — That LeBron James jersey could get a little more expensive. Companies that make clothing and shoes for the National Basketball Association players are in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump’s escalating China trade wars. So, the question is, will American fans of sports stars like Los Angeles Lakers’ James be willing to pay higher prices for the gear? The stakes are high as U.S. sales from sports licensed merchandise including NBA items rang up $21 billion last year, according to Licensing International, a trade group. Sales on NBAStore.com rose 15% during the 12-month period through August, according to the league. And many of the sports brands ranging from Adidas to Puma rely on China for at least some of their sourcing. Moreover, experts worry China could impose penalties on Western brands who sell there at a time when business in that country is exploding. Some also believe U.S. fans might turn to counterfeit merchandise if they don’t want to pay higher prices. “When you raise prices on legitimate goods, you encourage the production of illegitimate goods,” said Steve Lamar, executive vice president of The American Apparel and Footwear Association, a trade group. “We’re definitely seeing pressure… Read full this story
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