Sources: National Precast Concrete Association, Carmel, Ind.; CP staff
Tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel that President Donald Trump announced this month would negatively impact the precast concrete industry, according to National Precast Concrete Association President Ty Gable. “When you impose high tariffs, two major things happen,” he says. “The price of domestic steel goes through the roof. Second, there is a capacity problem and [producers] have difficulty getting their materials on time.”
When President George W. Bush imposed tariffs of 30 percent on steel imports in 2002, he adds, the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition found that prices rose about 40 percent for domestic steel consumers. While intended to last three years, those tariffs were pulled after 21 months in the face of European Union threats of retaliation on a variety of American products.
“History is likely to repeat itself here in dramatic price increases for steel,” Gable contends. “This will have a detrimental effect on the construction industry and possibly limit supply at a time when we need it most. We encourage the president to reverse course on this as soon as he possibly can.”
Nearly all NPCA members use steel in one form or another—rebar, wire mesh, reinforcing fibers, lifting devices and covers—in products or structures. Some producers likewise use a variety of hatches fabricated from aluminum, imports of which are the targets of a 10 percent tariff President Trump plans as a companion action on steel imports. NPCA will work with a coalition of groups concerned about tariffs’ effect on steel and aluminum prices.