EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Some East Texas experts say steel tariffs could change many facets of everyday life.
President Trump signed orders to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
The president has suggested he would provide temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico as he aims to revise the north American free trade agreement.
The steel industry once helped America become an economic power, but with a large percentage now being imported, a tariff could have extreme effects.
But now for companies like Energy Weldfab, and steel buyer Tom Sprott, buying needed steel is much more complicated.
"So much of our industry is run by speculation. What are steel prices going to do? What's this going to do to my cost? You can get it from India, China, Taiwan," he says.
Just talk of tariffs has already made an impact.
"There's big fluctuations in the market, there's steel mills saying we're not taking any more orders. Some will ere on the side of caution and give you a higher price than I think it's going to be just to cover my costs. And I think a lot of people in this industry are going to do that," Sprott says.
For the full impact, Tom says think of how steel is used. It isn't just oil and gas, or the auto industry, steel impacts practically every part of our lives. Very little of the economy would not be effected by higher prices.
"Agricultural implements being built, bridges, just about everything you can imagine in our economy has got some steel in it," he says.
And Sprott worries about exemptions.
"I've never liked tariffs per say. What if Canada gets their raw steel from overseas. comes to us at a higher price but we're getting the same steel.
Prices go up and you're going to have shortages. A lot of smaller distributors are going to get eased out of the market. It's going to drive a lot of people out of business," Tom says.
President Trump says the tariffs will take effect in about 15 days.
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