Tariff talk affecting business - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tariff talk affecting business

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The talk of tariffs on foreign metals like steel and aluminum is already affecting business in Iowa.

Last month, we talked to people at Tournier Manufacturing in Waterloo and Curbtender in Cedar Falls.

They're two local businesses that manufacture various metal products, and they've been directly impacted by the hike in metal prices.

Shortly after President Trump proposed putting a tariff on foreign metals, many steel warehouses decided to follow suit and hike their prices too.

Right now, manufacturers who use metal to create their products are feeling the brunt of it.

At Tournier Manufacturing in Waterloo, business is slow with fewer orders for their fabricated trailers and dumpsters.

When their steel suppliers decided to hike their prices from nearly 30 centers a pound to more than 60 cents, it shifted the business momentum for owner, Walt Tournier.

"There's one guy we had to lay off. We've got a small workforce right now. It's way down from where it should be. There were going to be two guys hired, but we haven't done that. We just can't do it," Walt said.

One month after lawmakers discussed proposed tariffs on foreign metals, Walt Tournier's prorduct lot now sits nearly empty.

It's normally filled with trailers and dumpsters, but Walt says steel warehouses took the news and decided to increase their prices, which is now affecting business here in the Cedar Valley and around the United States.

"I don't like looking out there and not seeing any trailers. We need to have something there. People drive by, and it looks like we're not even open. The morale is down, let's put it that way. Normally, you would look out there and see ten or fifteen trailers in it," Tournier said.

Walt said he never changed his labor costs, but he had to hike his product prices due to the inflated steel costs.

Right now, it's costing him business.

"They're just doing this for greed and price gouging. There's going to be a lot of people affected," Walt said.

Unlike some of the bigger manufacturing business owners, Walt says he didn't have a lot of stock-piled steel in his warehouse when the price hike hit.

Right now, he's just taking it one week at a time.

In response to President Trump's proposed tariff on steel and aluminum, China is now talking about a tariff on soybeans that could also hurt Iowa farmers.

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