Purdue economist weighs in on impact of tariff on Indiana

President Trump has moved forward with import tariffs on steel and aluminum. A Purdue University economist said the tariffs would do more harm than good in Indiana.

Posted: Mar. 9, 2018 12:07 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - President Trump has moved forward with import tariffs on steel and aluminum. A Purdue University economist said the tariffs would do more harm than good in Indiana. Steel and aluminum industries would benefit.
However, other manufacturers, especially in the automotive industry, could be negatively impacted.

President Trump signed proclamations for a 25-percent tariff on steel and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum Thursday.

"What that does is it raises the prices for any domestic producer of steel and domestic producer of aluminum," said Wally Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue Univeristy.

Tyner said one would think that would be a good for Hoosiers. However, he said think again.

"We have GM, Honda, Toyota, Cummins, Rolls Royce, Caterpillar. All of these companies use steel and aluminum, so their costs go up, their sales go down. When their sales go down, what happens to jobs in those industries? They go down," said Tyner.

Tyner is also concerned about retaliation, especially from China.

"If they put a tariff on soy beans, that means that Indiana farmers would suffer," said Tyner.

He said Indiana has four of the top 10 exporting communities in the country. That includes Lafayette, Kokomo, Columbus and Elkhart.

"So, if there's any retaliation, those four communities are all going to be hit."

Tyner said there would certainly be a ripple effect.

"In Indiana, we just go the good news that we can buy beer on Sundays. Now, that beer is going to cost more because it comes in aluminum cans."

The tariffs will go into effect in 15 days. Canada and Mexico are exempt from the tariffs if a new North American Free Trade Agreement can be reached.

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