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What Do Trump’s Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Mean For Consumers?

March 08, 2018 - 10:49 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a controversial move Thursday, President Donald Trump imposed stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. “The actions we’re taking today are not a matter of choice. They’re a matter of necessity for our security,” Trump said. The president signed the tariff proclamations alongside steel workers. “I think the thing is really complicated, and it may go one way, and it may go the other,” Minnesotan Jay Van Nostrand said along Nicollet Mall Thursday evening. It orders a 25 percent tax on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Canada and Mexico are exempt pending a new NAFTA deal. “I never really thought about it I guess,” Minnesotan Steve Raser said Thursday evening, “but I really wouldn’t want it to come back to the consumer.” It could, said Wayne Gjerde with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He works with companies to turn recycling left at the curb into products. Gjerde explains if import prices go up for companies, that cost could be passed to the consumer on everything from cars to cans. “When you manufacture something and your components — or parts, raw materials — become more expensive, then you will likely see some price increases,” he said. “How much, I don’t think we know what the extent of that is.” It has some Minnesotans worried. “Some of us are retired on a fixed income,” Minnesotan Tom Schulenberg said. “So consequently, I think this could affect us and some young couples that are really starting out and buying a home.” But Gjerde says don’t panic. While the tariff begins in 15 days the effect won’t be felt right away. “There’s inventory out there already, so depending on if your inventory hits three months or six months down the road, it won’t affect you tomorrow,” he said. Gjerde said how it affects us will depend on how long the tariff lasts and how strict it stays. One senator has already suggested he’ll introduce legislation to nullify the new policy.