Local businesses worry about bottom line after tariff decision - WSMV News 4

Local businesses worry about bottom line after tariff decision

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Pres. Donald Trump’s sweeping new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are forcing some local business owners to check their bottom line.

Manufacturing shops in Middle Tennessee that depend on those metals will end up paying more for the products and so may customers.

The 10-percent increase on aluminum and 25-percent increase on steel imports aim to majorly decrease foreign competition from countries where suppliers get materials to shops like Herndon and Merry, a metalworking business in Nashville. 

“It affects tubing, both square and round tubing, and also large plate items," explained Bill Merry, president of Herndon and Merry.  "We don’t use those so much, but it does affect those items."

Customers could end up paying more.

“It’s not something that would be significant," Marry said. "It’s very much on the margins, but not only will they see it in my product, they’ll see it in automobiles. They’ll see it in all types of things that have steel elements or aluminum elements in it."

The strain also extends to the sign industry. Workers at Joslin and Son Signs cut out letters and hope to cut rising prices.

“When the gas prices increased, we absorbed it," said Terrie Ballman, the manager of Joslin and Son Signs. "We absorb a lot, health insurance, and I think that we will adjust to this one just as well and try to keep our prices the same."

The new tariffs spark discussion and some uncertainty about what’s next.

“We’ll handle this tariff first and then we’ll see what else happens after that,” said Ballman.

The tariffs take effect in two weeks, but local business owners said steel suppliers already warned them their prices could change much sooner.

Other local industries, like bourbon and whiskey producers, have raised concerns over the new financial burden. State lawmakers also spoke against the measure after Electrolux put a hold on a $250-million expansion in Springfield, Tenn. 

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