Local steel workers react to possible tariffs

President Trump said he will impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum starting next week. (WSYX/WTTE)

President Trump said he will impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum starting next week.

It's a decision that upended markets and left his own party confused. Friday morning he tweeted, "We must protect our country and our workers. Our steel industry is in bad shape. If you don't have steel, you don't have a country!" We wanted to know if the tariff will really start a trade war and how it will impact Americans in the long-run.

One local steel company, Buckeye Metal Works, said that prices changing daily and they can't really predict what the market can bring in the next few months.

"You gotta take it day by day,” said Buckeye Metal Works Project Manager Matt Daniel. “If someone walks in the door and hands you $150,000 then you take it. You do a job they want done. If no one is walking in you gotta figure out a way to get it in."

So far, business is good, booming in fact.

"We've done more in the past 3 months than we've done, probably 2 years combined in this 3-month period,” said Daniel. Buckeye Metal Works is a custom fabricated steel shop.

But things may change if President Trump starts what some are calling "trade wars," imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as tensions escalate with China and other trading partners.

"I think ultimately it can be good in the short term for steelworkers,” said Assistant Professor of Economics at OSU Kyle Dempsey.

But in the long run, it could mean higher prices for you and me: from canned goods, airplanes, appliances, and much more.

“If there's a trade war and in response, tariffs are raised, that could even push down our supply in steel because it pushes down the demand,” said Professor Dempsey.

Low demand, means people could lose their jobs too. In 2002, President Bush imposed steel tariffs and companies claimed it wiped out more than 200,000 jobs. Matt Daniel said his family business, Buckeye Metal Works, has survived through the years and is ready for whatever is to come.

"This whole business is volatile,” said Daniel. “No one has any idea and no one can tell you."

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