Local Steel Manufacturer Reacts to Trump's Proposed Tariffs

March 05, 2018 11:28 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Days after President Donald Trump proposed substantial tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a local steel manufacturer said it's too early to know exactly what impact it will have on their business, though markets for the products will likely remain strong in the near term.

Chad Gossard, the sales manager at McNeilus Steel in Dodge Center, said those in the industry have been talking for months about the potential for import tariffs but right now potential effects are unclear.


"There's a lot of uncertainty out there right now as to what that impact will be going forward," he said. "The biggest impact it will have is on is the price of the material on the market today."

Trump announced the 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports last week, two weeks after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recommended them after an investigation into the imports' impact on national security.

The proposal hasn't sat well with some Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who voiced his concerns Monday through his spokesperson. When asked about Ryan's comments, Trump said he isn't backing down and doesn't expect the move to spark a trade war, despite vocal opposition from the European Union and Canada.

Currently, the tariffs would be on all steel and aluminum imports, but Gossard said the focus should be narrowed to countries that sell materials at or below cost.

"A lot of us in the industry would like to see it where it's impacting those that seem to be trading unfairly where they're subsidized by their governments to offset costs," Gossard said.

Trump has signaled he is open to removing the tariffs from Canadian and Mexican imports, but only if the two countries are willing to renegotiate NAFTA.

"People have to understand, our country on trade has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it's friend or enemy. Everybody," Trump told reporters Monday.

McNeilus, which is headquartered in Dodge Center but also has locations in North Dakota and Wisconsin, currently serves more than 2,000 customers, many of which manufacture vehicles, agricultural equipment and lawn mowers. For their company, Gossard said it's business as usual until all the details have been announced.

"Depending on what happens with [the proposal], is it all countries or just a select few, and then once all that gets sorted out we'll be able to better know how to handle it going forward," Gossard said.


Logan Reigstad

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