As steel tariffs squeeze U.S. businesses, uncertainty threatens economic growth – by Don Lee (Los Angeles Times – April 29, 2018)

“We’re in the dark, just like everybody else,” said an executive of a West Coast steel importer. “This administration has been supposedly pro-business, but business doesn’t like uncertainty,” groused a distributor of stainless steel, who, like others, requested anonymity to avoid antagonizing officials.

These should be good times for American manufacturers, construction firms, canners and others that use industrial metals for their business. The U.S. economy is perking along, and tax cuts and global growth are helping boost demand.

But since President Trump abruptly slapped hefty tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of imported steel and aluminum on March 23, the outlook has turned hazy for many — downright bleak for some.

The tariffs have brought higher prices for many manufacturers and construction firms and considerable uncertainty for both importers and domestic manufacturers of steel and aluminum.

When Trump issued the tariff orders, he gave temporary exemptions to a handful of the biggest steel and aluminum exporters to the United States, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the European Union. But those exemptions are set to expire on Tuesday.

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