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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Kroger finalizes merger with Home Chef meal delivery company

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 4:52 PM


            Kroger at Beckett Commons in West Chester Twp. NICK DAGGY / STAFF
Kroger at Beckett Commons in West Chester Twp. NICK DAGGY / STAFF

The Kroger Co. finalized a merger with meal delivery company Home Chef this week as the Cincinnati-based company seeks to speed up growth in the meal kit market.

Home Chef will operate as a Kroger subsidiary and will assume responsibility for the grocer’s meal kit initiatives. Home Chef meal kits will now be featured in Kroger’s portfolio of stores and will remain available online.

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The initial transaction price is $200 million, with future earnout payments of up to $500 million over five years, contingent on milestones including significant growth of in-store and online meal kits, according to Kroger. Home Chef grew 150 percent in 2017, earning $250 million in revenue and delivering profit in two quarters, the company said.

“We couldn’t be more excited to join the Kroger family and for what this will mean for millions of customers,” said Pat Vihtelic, Home Chef founder and chief executive, in a statement. “We look forward to bringing Home Chef’s simple, convenient and enjoyable meal solutions to Kroger locations.”

Home Chef, founded in 2013, is headquartered in Chicago and operates a distribution center there, as well as in Atlanta and Los Angeles. The company employs about 1,000 people.

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Dream job alert: Ohio’s first Legoland Discovery Center hiring 40 people

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 2:50 PM


            Ohio’s first LEGOLAND Discovery Center will open this fall in Columbus.
Ohio’s first LEGOLAND Discovery Center will open this fall in Columbus.

Ohio’s first Legoland Discovery Center is looking for 40 full-time and part-time employees in a July hiring push.

Open interviews at the indoor playground’s job fair will be July 13 to 15. The company is looking for experience in food and beverage, retail, admissions and custodial roles, according to a release.

Legoland will open Sept. 21 at the Easton Town Center in Columbus.

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Applicants can visit Legoland Discovery Center offices at 3991 Worth Ave., Columbus, from noon to 6 p.m. July 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 14 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15.

The 36,000-square foot facility is located in Easton’s current Station Building, next to the AMC movie theater. Easton is already home to a Lego store in the town center’s north district

The Discovery Center will have a range of Lego play areas including two interactive rides, master classes, special party rooms for celebrations and a cinema, according to Easton Town Center. The Discovery Center will also include a Miniland, which will reflect the iconic buildings of the Columbus area.

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Those looking to work for the company are encouraged to apply in advance on the Columbus Legoland website .

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Recalls: Ladders and scarves 

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:35 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:30 PM

images: cpsc.gov
images: cpsc.gov

Dangerous ladders and women’s scarves are on this week’s list of recalled products from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

image: cpsc.gov

One person has reportedly been hurt in a fall from a broken Werner Multipurpose Telescoping Aluminum ladder. 

There are five models with the following model numbers, date codes, and sizes, under recall: 

Date codes: 121744XX or 011844XX

  • MT-IAA-13A -13 feet
  • MT-IAA-17A- 17 feet
  • MT-IAA-22A -22 feet
  • MT-IAA-26- 26 feet
  • MT-IAA-26A-26 feet

The ladders were sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s stores between April 2018 and May 2018. 

Don’t use a recalled ladder and contact Werner at 888-523-3370 or return it to the store to receive a full refund. 

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images: cpsc.gov

Butterfly print women’s scarves by Yangtze are under recall because they do not meet flammability standards.

No injuries have been reported but don’t wear the recalled 100 percent silk scarves which were sold under the name “Long Georgette Silk Scarf Butterfly Print” exclusively at amazon.com

 

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The scarves are approximately 67 x 22 inches and were sold in 11 colors from January 2017 through April 2018. 

Contact Yangtze Store at 877-861-1539 for a full refund. 

For more information on these and previous recalls visit www.cpsc.gov.

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Good Samaritan Hospital closing day set

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 2:57 PM

FILE
FILE

Good Samaritan Hospital will close 12:01 a.m. July 23.

Premier Health, which operates the hospital, shared the closing date late Friday afternoon.

Premier announced earlier this year that it would shut down Good Samaritan Hospital, moving 1,600 jobs out of northwest Dayton.

The Dayton-based health system had previously said it would close Good Samaritan no later than Aug. 29 but hadn’t set a specific date.

MORE: Good Sam emergency department closing date set

The announcement has received some community backlash over the loss of the anchor institution, and a group of clergy in May filed a federal complaint saying the closure is a civil rights violation of black residents now served by the hospital.

Good Samaritan is the closest hospital for 38,600 people — 75 percent of them African American, according to a study of travel times by the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University, the complaint stated. The complaint also states that the loss of the hospital will harm women through the loss of maternal health care in an area with high rates of infant mortality.

Premier leaders have said the closure was a difficult but necessary decision to reduce unnecessary duplication of services, pointing to the high number of empty beds and the high cost of maintaining an inefficient and out-of-date facility when Premier has another hospital in the city, Miami Valley.

RELATED: Five Rivers Health Center on Good Sam campus says it’s here to stay

With hospital stays on the decline and health care shifting to outpatient centers, the need for large hospitals has declined, Premier officials have said. The hospital will be torn down, and Premier also plans to give $10 million toward redeveloping the site.

The hospital has already started winding down operations, and the emergency department will close at noon on July 19. The closing time was previously reported as 11:59 p.m. July 19 but the time has since changed. 

Obstetrics and gynecology was the first major health service to move out, and was transferred in April to Miami Valley Hospital.

The satellite locations – including Good Samaritan Health Center North in Englewood and Good Samaritan Health Center Huber Heights – will stay open but will be renamed Miami Valley to reflect the new main hospital they will be under.

The hospital dates back to 1928 when the Sisters of Charity and the community raised money to start construction on a new hospital in Dayton and has since been added on to many times.

Premier, with $1.7 billion in revenue, is the region’s largest private employer. Besides Good Samaritan, the health system operates Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center, Upper Valley Medical Center, as well as a large network of physicians.

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