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@import rules have a negative impact on page speed/performance because the individual stylesheets have to load sequentially down the chain, in the order they’re listed (more waiting, more http requests). They prevent parallel downloading, which is the browser’s way of pulling in resources faster, including standard linked stylesheets, so that the page loads quicker. You want CSS to load as fast possible so that the page looks presentable/usable to visitors (and perceived speed is just as important and actual speed), so its better for performance if we separate off the critical CSS and load it internally and/or minify and condense stylesheets into one master file. Cutting out the extra http requests via these 2 methods helps speed things up too.

You can find lots of resources if you Google something like “@import impact on performance”. Or read up on web performance in general. It’s a very interesting topic.