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Local companies struggle to predict a future with post-tariff steel
Workers in the steel industry are worried about what’s to come as they begin to see the impact of U.S. imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.
CORR Grain Systems Inc. in Lumsden says the retail industry hasn't been affected just yet, as they are still working with late 2017 and early 2018 steel. But the company confirms the major worries will come when purchasing for next year, as the cost of manufactured goods has gone up 10 to 20 per cent.
"Our concern and the concern of our manufacturers is what does 2019 bring? Are we looking at decreased demand because of increased prices?” President and CEO of CORR Grain Systems Inc. Ralph Wegman said.
Other industry members admit they are having a hard time securing building materials, saying there is hesitation to price materials long term.
Economists say decisions need to be made now to prepare the future supply chain.
"I think you're going to start seeing impact going on from now until this policy reverses,” assistant professor of economics at the University of Regina Ken Sagynbekov said.
Sagynbekov says other sectors that use steel will also start feeling the impact of the tariffs.
"They are not sensible. Not to American business owners, not to Canadian business owners,” Sagynbekov said.
Wegman says if people are thinking about buying storage products, the fall of 2018 seems like the best time to do it. Adding some hopper suppliers are looking at layoffs.
"When we're faced with steel price increases, we have to pass that on to the end use customer," Wegman said.
Wegman is hopeful solidifying NAFTA would help get rid of the tariffs and may help with steel pricing. Until then, steel workers will have to work with the hand they've been dealt.