By: Carly Willis
Updated: Mar 22, 2018 10:52 PM CDT
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – President Trump is making good on a campaign promise to raise tariffs on goods imported into the United States, saying it will spur economic growth in America. Some lawmakers say, it could hurt American companies. Earlier this month, Trump put a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tax on aluminum.
Local tradesman Steve Hunter is feeling the hit of the tariff. Hunter is president of Hunter and Son construction, a foundation repair company. Their commercial, industrial and residential repair jobs use semi-truck loads of steel each week.
“We had a 4 percent cost increase March 1, then just this week we got hit with a 20 percent increase,” Hunter said on Thursday.
That 20 percent increase is hitting him where it hurts: with customers.
“They’re either going to have to maybe table their repair efforts for awhile or they’re just going to have to do as most consumers will, they’re just gonna have to be impacted by the price increase on steel and they’re just going to have to take it on the chin,” Hunter said.
With 32 steel patents and an eye for detail, Hunter knows to take it as it comes with the tariff, but wishes the decision-making could have been handled more thoughtfully.
That’s a sentiment that Kansas congressman Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) agrees with. Moran recently toured JR Custom Metal Products in Wichita to get a closer glimpse of the industry.
“If we’re going to try to level the playing field and improve the circumstances our country compared to others, it needs to be done if a very thoughtful way that doesn’t cause more damage than it causes benefit,” Moran said.
Another red flag, Hunter says, are if competitors within the steel industry don’t raise their prices with the tariff, for either consumers or businesses. That could perpetuate fraud within the industry.