How badly will the tiff over tariffs bruise Louisiana industry?
Outside of the domestic steel industry, it’s difficult to find anyone, anywhere, with a favorable view of the current tariff-induced trade war. Sizeable spikes in steel prices and an uncertain future have many industrial owners wringing their hands, as an estimated one-third of their capital dollars is spent on steel products.
The culprit is a 25% steel and aluminum tariff levied earlier this year by President Trump against China, the EU and others under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. China then retaliated with tariffs of its own on agricultural products, seafood and cars. To date, billions of dollars in tariffs have been imposed by both countries.
Louisiana’s ports felt an immediate gut punch from the resulting trade decline. Robert Landry, Port of New Orleans vice president and chief commercial officer, says his port is $200,000 below its fiscal year budget (as of early September), almost entirely because of the tariffs. If the trend continues, he says “we’re going to see a million-dollar hit by the end of the year.”