A study by Purdue University is being used by the federal Commerce Department, as the basis for President Trump’s proposed steel tariff plans.
Thomas Hertel, of the Global Trade Analysis Project at Purdue, says his study is being misused by the Commerce Department to sell the administration’s 25 percent tax on imported steel.
Hertel wrote in a statement that the US Department of Commerce’s review of his project’s analysis, “says nothing about the overall production and employment impacts in downstream industries, or the consequences for some of our closest trading partners, all of which we found to be adverse. You can’t truly evaluate the efficacy of this tariff without looking far beyond the steel industry.”
Indiana is the nation’s largest producer of steel. Five of the country’s 11 integrated steel mills are located in the Hoosier state. Indiana is also one of the nation’s heaviest manufacturing states. Economists worry that manufacturers will face higher prices for steel, if the Trump administration passes the 25 percent tariffs.
In an independent analysis of the proposed steel tariffs, Hertel’s team found, “Combined output reductions of nearly $20 billion annually for U.S. manufacturers of machinery and equipment, automobiles and parts, and the construction sector.”
Indiana employs 532,000 people in the manufacturing sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data from January of this year.
Keith Belton is the Director of Indiana University’s Manufacturing Policy Initiative. He says Indiana leads the nation in terms of percentage of the workforce employed in manufacturing. That means automotive manufacturers and automotive parts manufacturers, as well as consumers, could be hurt by increased steel prices due to the proposed tariffs.
Belton says steel producers are already feeling the effects of the proposed tariffs. If the tariffs are put into place, Belton says it shouldn’t take long for consumers to start seeing higher prices on their cars and manufactured goods.
The Trump Administration has recently signaled that Canada and Mexico may be exempted from the proposed tariffs. It is not currently known when, or if, the tariffs would be put into place.