Workers at Owen Steel in Columbia heat the steel before cutting it to avoid cracks.
Owen Steel works creates steel for buildings across the country.
Currently the company is fabricating steel for the World Trade Center Memorial and a casino in Miami, Florida.
After President Donald Trump announced the idea of imposing a 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminum, national leaders as well as business executives in South Carolina reacted with a mixture of alarm and shock.
David Zalesne, the president of Owen Steel in Columbia, revealed that he didn’t think the effects on the fabrication industry would be as major as national lawmakers expect.
“In general, tariffs will raise construction costs,” Zalesne said. “Whether the market will absorb all those, whether construction will slow down, whether jobs will be lost, gained, all remains to be seen. It’s too early to tell.”
Some national lawmakers are confident the affects will be more extreme. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island believes the tariffs would be detrimental.
“The idea of engaging in a trade war, that could do real damage to the American economy, that could hurt our allies and our geopolitical situation between the United States and her allies. This is not a well thought out policy prescription,” said Cicilline.
But here in Columbia, they don’t think the tariffs would lead to the national trade war that others are expecting.
“I think this will be perceived as something of a shock from an economic standpoint but in the scheme of things the administration is right,” Zalesne stated. “I don’t know that it will lead to the trade war that everybody is predicting.”
And although Zalesne doesn’t think the impact will be as extreme, he said they would see some kind of effect.
“Construction costs will go up. They won’t go up 25% because the steel is only one component of the overall construction cost but they will go up.”