Trump's announcement of steel import tariffs brings hope to Gran -

Trump's announcement of steel import tariffs brings hope to Granite City

Posted: Updated:

President Donald Trump’s announcement to set tariffs on steel and aluminum imports has brought concerns for critics about a trade war, but for one Metro East Community, it brings hope.

“The feeling I think is more gleeful,” said Jason Fernandez with United Steelworkers Local 1899.

Granite City Works, the city’s largest steel mill, hasn’t produced steel or iron since 2015.

Instead, they receive it from other US Steel Corp. locations around the country.

The mill went from 1800 jobs to just 730.

It’s a hit everyone around Granite City felt, including auto shop owner Richard Harper, who lost about 25 percent of his business.

“I have seen a definite depreciation of the money that can be spent by people in Granite City,” he said, “and an exodus of people that earn good wages and have trade skills to run the steel mill here.”

So hearing about President Trump’s plan to set a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum has brought hope to everyone around the town.

 “It’s going to be a wait and see just a little bit longer,” said Fernandez. “But there’s a lot more encouragement coming out of the decision today than there was yesterday.”

The President announced the tariffs would begin next week.

Fernandez and his colleagues are eagerly waiting to hear more details about how it will be enforced and to whom.

While they’re hopeful the tariffs will increase the demand for US produced steel leading to more hiring at the Granite City mill, they’re also hesitant to start celebrating too quickly.

“There’s going to be a lot of decisions that are going to have to be made in the next few days, in the next week,” said Fernandez. “It may take another week, we do not know.”

Critics of the tariffs fear they will start a trade war between the US and countries like China.

They also speculate the tariffs could hurt other US industries like the automobile and machinery sectors.

For those living in Granite City though, the tariffs bring hope toward long growing fears of a suffering industry.

“It’s a little more encouragement now that we’re able to understand that there’s been a decision made,” said Fernandez. “That there is a great possibility that we're going to get back to making steel.”

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly