The Metalworking Group has been in business since 1982 manufacturing steel products for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Their products range from custom metal fabrication to complete product assemblies.
CEO Mike Schmitt says the steel tariff has increased the price of his raw materials—cold-rolled steel has increased by 18 percent and hot-rolled steel by 30 percent. The additional costs are being passed onto his consumers who represent a wide array of industries, from agricultural firms to beer manufacturers. Schmitt’s contracts with customers are typically updated every few months. The contracts will need to be rewritten to include the higher prices, which Schmitt worries will cause some of his customers to stop working with him.
Schmitt says that the uncertainty caused by the tariffs has been the most damaging. “In a typical year, I’d be looking at maybe buying more equipment or investing in the business. And now I don’t know what things are going to look like six months from now. It puts a chilling effect on the investment level.”
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Christine McDaniel a former senior economist with the White House Council of Economic Advisers and deputy assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy, is a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.