Proposed Steel Tariffs Hit NC Metal Fabricator

CHARLOTTE (WCNC) -- In March, President Trump signed a 25-percent tariff on imported steel. The President said the tariff will help boost steel manufacturing in the U.S. and create more than 10,000 American jobs.

But as countries now pay more to import steel into America - the world’s biggest steel importer - businesses are having to pay more, too.

“In two-and-half months, it’s gone up 45-percent,” said James Howard, owner of Howard Steel, which has been in business for 36 years.

Howard said business is thriving, but ever since the steel tariff took effect, steel prices have been fluctuating more often than gas prices.

“This job gave me that order back in January, so I’m just now finishing it out. So, if he comes back and orders again, I can’t duplicate that price,” said Howard.

Cabarrus County Schools face a similar issue. An new elementary school, originally estimated to cost $25 million to build, is now $3.5 million over budget as builders account for rising steel prices.

“If it affects Cabarrus County $3 to $3.5 million on just one school, knowing that we have other schools backed up that we have to do, then I can’t imagine how it will affect North Carolina and the country as a whole. So, it definitely has an impact and makes it harder for us to balance the budget,” said Cabarrus County Commissioner Lynn Shue.