Trump’s trade plan has auto industry, farmers worried about price hikes

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 4:22 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 5:39 PM

            (Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
            Alexander Koerner
(Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)(Alexander Koerner)

President Donald Trump’s decision to impose steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum may boost Ohio’s steel industry, but it has prompted fears the tariffs will lead to higher costs for people buying cars, trucks and other consumer items made with steel.

Although White House officials insisted Thursday the tariffs will not dramatically increase the price for domestic produced steel, past history has shown that when steel companies are shielded from foreign competition they tend to increase the price of their products.

“This is a type of economics reasoning that only Peter Pan could endorse,” said Edward Hill, a professor of public administration at Ohio State University. “I am absolutely certain that Mother Theresa is not in charge of the pricing department at an American steel company.”

A spokesman for Honda North America, which employs 15,000 people in production plants in Central Ohio, warned “history has shown that tariffs imposed on imported steel could raise prices on both domestic and imported material, thus causing an unnecessary financial burden on our customers.”

John Bozella, president and chief executive officer of Global Automakers, a trade group representing automotive manufacturers around the world, said, “Increased costs will make our industry less competitive and harm American workers, consumers, and our economy.”

RELATED: Trump to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum

Bozella called the tariffs “a tax that will result in higher prices that consumers will ultimately bear.”

If the new tariffs spark a major trade war, Ohio manufacturing and agricultural exports also could be hurt. A new state report shows that last year only eight other states exported more goods than Ohio, which exported nearly $51 billion worth of goods, including machinery, vehicles and parts, oil seed and grains.

Trump announced the new tariffs — 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports — at a White House gathering that included workers from the two industries and Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The administration exempted Canada and Mexico from the new tariffs, although administration officials suggested that exception would be tied to both countries agreeing to U.S. demands on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement.

“These actions we are taking today are not a matter of choice, they are a matter of necessity for our security,” Trump said, adding “a strong steel and aluminum industry is vital to our country.”

RELATED: Senators press Trump to protect U.S. steel production

Trump indicated that the tariffs could be removed on a case-by-case basis. But while he criticized China for flooding the world market with inexpensive steel, his decision would largely damage steel producers that export to the United States, such as Japan, Germany, Brazil and South Korea.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who has urged the Trump administration to penalize countries such as China, said he was “glad” Trump imposed the tariffs. I would have done it differently. I would have targeted China. I’m glad he is flexible, but once he makes these decisions he needs to stick to them.”

Brown tartly dismissed fears that tariffs would lead to job losses, saying, “This is not the first time we have heard the sky is falling from free traders. The fact is people crying the sky is falling are the same people who pushed through (trade deals) which led to unemployment in Dayton, Mansfield and Cleveland.”

Brown is among those with the most at stake politically if the tariffs provoke a trade war and higher prices. He is up for re-election later this year.

“Sherrod has made a career about running against trade,” said James Ruvolo, former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “It hasn’t hurt him yet. I think this plays right into his wheelhouse.”

“The election is in November,” Ruvolo added. “I doubt you will see skyrocketing prices immediately — if ever — so I doubt it will play in the election.”

But Trump’s decision led to a split among Republicans who tend to favor free trade. Ohio Gov. John Kasich complained “these actions will invite friction and retaliation from our allies as well as a loss of American jobs and higher prices for American consumers.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he disagreed with “this action and fear its unintended consequences,” while Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, said while he favors “anti-dumping policies,” he too is concerned the tariffs won’t be successful.

In large part because NAFTA integrated the North American automotive market, nearly half of Ohio’s exports last year went to Mexico and Canada.

Ohio farmers exported $1.8 billion worth of soybeans last year, with nearly $700 million to China and $351 million to Mexico.

Joe Cornely, a spokesman for the Ohio Farm Bureau, warned that “trade is crucial to Ohio farmers and the state’s entire economy. We’re telling the administration and Congress that while we understand the need to protect American industries and jobs, the consequences of trade actions on farmers must be part of the decision making process.”


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Southwest adding new flight at Cincinnati airport

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 11:28 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 10:18 PM

Here's how to find cheap flights.

Southwest Airlines is adding another new flight at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Southwest Airlines’ new nonstop service from Cincinnati/Northern International Airport to Denver, Colorado (DEN) will begin Aug. 7. The new route will operate daily year round with Boeing 737 aircraft using a combination of 143 and 175 seat configurations.

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“This new route continues our growth in the region and adds more time saving itineraries to Denver and destinations in the western half of the United States,” said Dave Harvey, Southwest Airlines’ managing director of corporate sales. “Every flight on Southwest Airlines offers travelers the ability to change flights without paying change fees.”

Denver will be the third daily year-round destination served by Southwest at CVG. 


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Good Sam announces it’s closing before September

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 12:24 PM


Good Samaritan Hospital will close before Aug. 29.

Premier Health, which operates the northwest Dayton hospital, announced in January that Good Samaritan would close before the end of the year and today gave a tighter time frame for the closure.

“While we had initially communicated a closing toward the end of the year, we did say that some dynamics could result in a different closure date, due to the unpredictability and complexity that understandably comes with such transitions,” Premier stated.

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Premier said it will give an exact date in the coming months.

When the Philadelphia Drive hospital closes down, it will move 1,600 jobs out of the northwest Dayton neighborhood where it has served as an anchor for nearly a century.

The main campus will be torn down after the hospital closes. City Wide Development and Planning NEXT, a design firm based in Columbus, are working with Premier on a plan for the site and the first public meetings on the site’s future are today.

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Area company that makes writing ‘glow sticks’ for the military lands state funds

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 4:54 PM


A Springboro maker of pressure-activated chemiluminescent writing devices that can be used by soldiers on the battlefield or police in the field received state money Thursday to help move the new technology out of the lab and into the marketplace.

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission approved $2.1 million for several companies and schools to move new technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace. Many of these innovative products could advance medicine and improve outcomes for patients.

“We are helping to advance these technologies and get them to market where they can make a difference,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission.

Battle Sight Technologies in Springboro was awarded $100,000 to build, test and scale up manufacturing for a new prototype of its pressure-activated chemiluminescent writing device. It’s a glow stick you can write with, according to the company.

Battle Sight Technologies was started by Nick Ripplinger and Bennett Tanton in August 2017.

•University of Dayton Research Institute was awarded $200,000 to create the Miami University/University of Dayton Technology Validation and Start-up Fund.


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Former DP&L power plants to lay off 370 workers in Ohio

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 10:52 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 1:54 PM


AES Ohio Generation, formerly Dayton Power & Light, will lay off approximately 370 workers in Aberdeen and Manchester at two power plants.

The company is permanently closing two generation plant facilities located at 745 US 52 in Aberdeen and Killen Station located at 14869 US 52 in Manchester. This will also result in the closure of a training center located in Manchester, according to a notice sent to state officials.

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The company anticipates these facilities will close by June 1, but the expected layoff date could be earlier. About 260 of the 370 workers are part of Utility Workers Union of America Local 175.

The closures were previously announced last March. A company spokeswoman said they are “proactively managing workforce transitions related to the closure of these generation units,” including contributing $2 million for the purpose of workforce development and job retraining in Adams County. The company will also offer employment services including interview preparation and resume editing for impacted employees.

The plan closings also come years into what has been seen as a challenging environment for coal. The Obama administration put forward its plan for reducing national dependency on coal, called the Clean Power Plan, but the plan is being contested in courts, and the new Trump administration is seen as more open to coal usage.

The two power generation stations — known as the Killen and Stuart stations — have been operated since the 1970s. DP&L owns 5,500 acres in Adams County, controlling seven miles of Ohio River-facing property.


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