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Contractors paint dire jobs, cost consequences in steel, aluminum tariff aftermath

Sources: Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Responding to President Donald Trump’s March 8 order applying respective 25 percent and 10 percent tariffs to steel and aluminum imports from countries outside the NAFTA region, AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr noted: "These tariffs will cause significant harm to the nation's construction industry, put tens of thousands of high-paying construction jobs at risk, undermine the President's proposed infrastructure initiative and potentially dampen demand for new construction.

“The tariffs will lead to increases in what construction firms are forced to pay for the many steel and aluminum products that go into a typical project. Firms already engaged in fixed-price contracts may be forced to absorb these costs, forcing them to cut back on new investments in equipment and personnel. Higher steel and aluminum prices will make the kind of infrastructure work President Trump supports more expensive, forcing federal, state and local officials to cut back on projects they can fund. And the likely trade war these new tariffs prompt will diminish demand for private investment in infrastructure as well as construction demand for manufacturing, shipping and distribution facilities.”

"Any short-term gains for the domestic steel and aluminum industries will likely be offset by the lower demand that will come for their products as our economy suffers the impacts of these new tariffs and the trade war they encourage,” Sandherr contends. “[AGC] will continue to take every possible step to convince the administration and Congress to reconsider these costly tariffs and instead enact the kind of infrastructure proposal that will rebuild our steel and aluminum industries while strengthening our overall economy."


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