Anchorage Thursday, President Donald Trump approved new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Beginning March 23rd, a new 25% tariff will be placed on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum. Mexico Canada and Australia could be exempt since NAFTA renegotiation talks are under way. The President defended the move, arguing a healthy metals industry is vital to national security.
"This is not merely an economic disaster, but it's a security disaster we want to build our ships, we want to build our planes ... with steel and aluminum from our country," Trump said.
The President insisted that the new tariffs on steel and aluminum will also be good for the American job market. Making American products more competitive domestically is good for companies here in the U.S. but it might not be good for the consumer. Scott Brown of Superior Machine & Welding, Inc. in Anchoage said it's still too early to tell exactly what the prices will look like.
"Whether it's domestic or imports or whether its imports the prices are going to be higher because it will cost more to do business. They might have some of their work done outside as far as fabrication but their still going to have the same tariff taxes too. So it's just going to be across the country, I just don't see how if they want the work done they're going to have to pay the price," said Brown.
The majority of steel product, nearly 70%, at Steelfab of Anchorage is American and President Richard Faulkner said that the tariff doesn't have much effect.
"But it will have an effect on the suppliers that we get product from possibly some of them have indicated that that there's going to be some price adjusting some of them that I have talked to today indicated that's not taking effect at this point but we will be notified if that happens," said Faulkner.
Both Faulkner and Brown said they're optimistic that the move by President Trump could help spur a revival in the steel industry bringing back steel companies and jobs. According to the Trump administration nearly 100,000 steel and aluminum jobs were lost as a result of foreign imports.
Senator Dan Sullivan joined six other senators in a letter expressing concern about the Presidents proposed tariffs. In the letter the senators highlight the need for close relationships with international allies, saying our military and intelligence communities benefit from close relationships with those allies who share our nations concerns and interests. The letter concludes saying "We remain concerned that imposing tariffs risks alienating key international partners that contribute to our ability to defend our nation.
Alaska Gasline Development Corporation President Keith Meyer tells Channel 2 that in terms of the actual impact on the Gasline Project, it's not going to be that significant. Most of the cost of their project is actually construction and equipment, as opposed to raw steel.