Potential Steel Tariff Could Have Impact on North Carolina Industries

DENVER, NC – There’s growing concern President Trump’s plan to impose a tariff on steel and aluminum could lead to a trade war. If that happens, it could impact you in several ways, including higher prices for some goods.

At Race City Steel in Denver, Damon Lusk sells steel and aluminum to NASCAR teams and construction companies. He buys 60 percent of his product from other countries.

“A lot of times, a smaller company like ours, with you know, 30 people, we don’t get an option of where we buy stuff from,” Lusk explains.

He’s bracing for the impact from a potential jump in prices.

In an effort to bring back American manufacturing jobs, President Trump says his administration will impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

“Well, the first thing you think is, it’s shocking. You buy something yesterday for a $100 bucks, and today you go to buy it and it’s $125,” Lusk says.

Experts say you could end up paying more for everything from appliances to canned food.

In North Carolina, the biggest impact could come if countries like China or Mexico retaliate and impose tariffs on agriculture.

The state exports millions of dollars in products like pork, tobacco, and poultry.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is urging the White House not to impose the tariff.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham also says it’s a mistake.

“You’re punishing the American consumer and our allies. You’re making a huge mistake here,” Graham said.

Back at Race City Steel, Lusk says if the tariff goes into effect, he’ll slowly phase in the price increase.

“We gotta keep it down as long as we can. But we also gotta make sure that we’re selling for enough profit to buy new stuff in a couple of months,” he explains.