Local business owner concerned about tariffs on aluminum, steel

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jun 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-01 18:04:57-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum has some local business owners concerned.

Some local construction companies say they are uncertain how the tariffs will impact them at this point, however, if the cost of steel becomes a burden, those prices will be transferred to their clients.

Another industry already feeling the impact is food service.

“I had two phone calls with my suppliers this morning and one of them already told me there’s going to be a 25 to 30 percent increase in aluminum,” Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. owner of Jasper’s Restaurant.

Mirabile said they use a lot of aluminum at his Italian restaurant on a daily basis.

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“To-go containers, wrapping in foil but more than that it’s a trickle-down effect. So, my prices on supplies go up, I have to raise my prices,” said Mirabile.

Aluminum containers are used for all of the catering the restaurant does, which is about 25 percent of their business.

Mirabile said he’s also concerned about the tariff on steel since all his kitchen appliances are made of the metal.

“If I must replace something here in the restaurant then I’m in trouble. Refrigeration especially, deli cases etc.,” said Mirabile.

Economist Christ Butler said the costs of anything that has elements of the two metals will likely see some type of impact.

He expects everything from cars, cell phones and aluminum cans to have a higher cost.

“The smaller businesses that use metals as their inputs probably aren’t going to fare well. If you’re involved in using metal as an input into a product that you make your profit margins will likely shrink,” said Butler.

Butler also believes these tariffs won’t last very long.

“I don’t know how long this can go on but everybody that’s involved in the trade war, the United States, Mexico, Canada, Europe, all of them understand, its bad,” said Butler.

In the meantime, business owners like Mirabile will be transferring those costs on to their customers.