Iowans reeling by inflated metal prices - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Iowans reeling by inflated metal prices


Many Americans in manufacturing say they are already feeling the sting of higher steel and aluminum prices.

This comes after President Trump's announcement on putting tariffs in place to tax foreign metal this week.

"The American steel and aluminum industry has been ravaged by aggressive foreign trade practices. It's really an assault on our country.  Its been an assault. They know better than anybody," President Trump said.

The tariffs will take effect in two weeks.

Even though President Trump's tariff on foreign metals hasn't taken effect yet, American metal companies decided to jump the gun by doubling their prices for steel, from nearly 30 cents per pound to more than 60 cents per pound.

In Iowa, that means less business and more job cuts.

Tournier Manufacturing in Waterloo makes trailers and dumpsters, and the growing business had all sorts of jobs lined up this week til they learned the cost of metal nearly doubled.

"I was like 'dumbfounded.' I was thinking we've got all kinds of work coming up, and now within four hours that day, we're thinking, well now we've got nothing to do," Tournier Manufacturing President, Walt Tournier said.

The first thing this week, Tournier said he reached out to his metal producers.

"And, I go, 'you're going to put me out of business.' I mean, I lost four jobs within four hours $160,000, and I don't know what we're going to do next week," Tournier said.

Walt says he's had to scale back on projects like this because of the hike in metal prices.

Not only is the cost too high, but his consumers can't afford to pay for his products now, because it's too expensive. That really makes this problem two-fold.

"I call it American Greed, and I'm not making any more money on it," Tournier said.

Last week, Tournier said he was planning to grow his business, but that all changed this week.

"The morale is down a little right now, especially with me," Tournier said.

Tournier said he has eight people working for him, and he was planning to hire two more people last week, but with the hike in metal prices and drop in product demand now, he might have to make some cuts.

Foreign tariffs on metals aren't set to take effect for another two weeks, but right now, American metal companies are keeping their prices inflated.

According to many manufacturing business owners in the area, they're waiting to hear back from Iowa lawmakers about this concern.

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