Steel tariffs have local impact | KOB 4

Steel tariffs have local impact

Morgan Aguilar
April 19, 2018 06:29 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - As tensions over trade between the U.S. and China intensifies, so do the effects of tariffs in New Mexico.


Last month, President Trump imposed a 25-percent tax on imported steel and 10-percent on aluminum. Right away, local steel manufacturers and breweries were impacted. Eventually, the price hikes could end up hurting taxpayers.

In his weekly web address on Monday, President Trump said he implemented steel and aluminum tariffs to protect those U.S. industries. China responded with its own list of U.S. goods for retaliation. It’s a trade war happening far away from New Mexico, but having noticeable local impacts.

VA Electric is a family-owned business that has been doing commercial electrical installations throughout the Albuquerque metro area for nearly 30 years. President Don Aragon says in all that time, he has never seen such a quick, drastic price hike on the steel he orders from manufacturers.

“Price increases were coming almost a week, within a week, of the president’s tweet going out about tariffs,” said Aragon, whose father started the business.

Right away, Aragon started planning and trying to figure out how they would be able to continue making money while keeping costs affordable for their customers. They often do electrical work for buildings being paid for by taxpayers.

"We do a lot of public works, schools, fire stations, police stations,” said Aragon. “I want the district, the school district, and the county and the state to get the most bang for their buck for the taxpayer dollar.”

If VA Electric is forced to raise its prices after paying more for parts, their customers, like Albuquerque Public Schools, the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County may be forced to either pay more or build less.“We want our customers to try and stay within budget as much as possible so that they can build as much as possible,” said Aragon. “That keeps New Mexico working.”


Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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