Iowans impacted by increased metal prices - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans already impacted by increased metal prices

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President Trump is shaking up the country's trade polices this week, and some area business owners say it's already affecting them.

After President Trump proposed a tariff on imported steel and aluminum last week, American metal makers decided to increase their prices too.

It's been a roller coaster this week for many companies across the United States and right here at home that use metal to create their products.

When President Trump proposed a tariff on foreign metals, American companies decided to follow suit.

Curbtender, Inc. in Cedar Falls employs nearly 90 people, and they make dump trucks and street sweepers.

They sell their products all over the world.

Since their metal suppliers are mostly American, they weren't really concerned about President Trump's proposed tariff on foreign metals.

"We didn't think we were going to be impacted by a foreign steel tariff, and now suddenly we are because they're matching that price increase, the American producers are," Curbtender President, Mark Watje said.

Watje said the increased metal cost means they'll have to charge more for their products now to stay in business.

"It's been chaotic as we try to analyze our business costs. How much is our cost going to increase, and how can we pass that along to our customers in a way that's manageable to them and for us," Watje said.

Watje said he already lost business this week, after he told a client his product would be more expensive, since the metal costs more.

"We're likely going to have a large financial impact to our business as a result of something that they thought would be good to us, and it actually isn't," Watje said.

Instead of growing the company, Watje said, they'll be spending more money on operating costs.

"We wanted to be hiring more people, investing in more equipment, and do more high-tech work at our facility, and now we're having to redirect those investments towards increased costs that have no value to our business," Watje said.

Watje said isn't the only Cedar Valley business person affected by the increase in metal prices.

Many Iowa business owners say they've reached out to lawmakers to express their concern about metal prices.

We'll hear from them later this week.

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