Tariff on steel imports causing small business owners to lose money
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
President Donald Trump is adamant that the import tariffs on both aluminum and steel won’t affect our economy, but local business owners say that’s not true.
Coral Steel Company in West Palm Beach produces up to 7000 tons of rebar, which is concrete reinforcing steel used to make bridges and pools.
They say because of the 25 percent tariff on steel imports, customers can expect to pay more for those too.
“The steel tariffs have affected our business specifically very negatively,” Lee Disbury, Vice President of Coral Steel & Supply Company.
Disbury has owned Coral Steel Company for more than 30 years.
He says when the White House announced that it was imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports in March, the effect was almost instant.
Disbury says the price of steel went up the next day by the ton.
“That 50 dollar increase is probably double all the other incremental increases we’ve had,” he said.
Disbury says the move is good for top execs at steel companies, but not for small business owners like him who are losing money.
“I was disappointed and kind of angry especially the way it was implemented it was done without any consideration,” he said.
Disbury says he now has to raise his prices on his clients, which include the government and pool contractors who will have to pay more.
“The average swimming pool will probably use just about three quarters of a ton of steel and a ton right now went from $700 to over $900,” Disbury said.
Disbury says many people are applauding the move, but steel mills can’t keep up with all of the demand.
That's why Disbury believes that’s why they need to import steel.
“There’s just not enough capacity at this point for them to keep up with the domestic demand,” he said.
He says some steel suppliers are thinking about closing because of it.
“There are firms that are just basically thinking about closing their doors because they can’t get the products they need to do construction with,” Disbury said.
Even before the tariffs, the price of steel was going up, but at a lower rate.
Disbury says since the tariff it has gone up more than 30 percent and is expected to go up another 25 percent.
The U.S. Department of Commerce start collecting the tariffs on Mar. 23.