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Are Steel Tariffs Good Or Bad For Texas?

The Dallas Fed chief weighs in


Steel coils sit on wagons leaving a factory in Duisburg, Germany on March 2. U.S. President Trump Monday decided to hold off on imposing most steel and aluminum tariffs until at least June 1

We have been reporting recently on Houston-area companies that make steel pipe, some of which say President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel will hurt them. Other companies say just the opposite.


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Steel pipe manufacturer Borusan Mannesmann said the tariffs are keeping it from building a second Baytown factory. The company imports steel from Turkey and is losing about $30 million per year because of the tariffs.

Meanwhile in Conroe, another steel pipe company, Tenaris, credits the same tariffs for a soon-to-be reopened pipe mill. That's thanks to increased demand for domestic steel.

Both companies service the oil and gas companies.

So all things considered, what effect do the steel tariffs have on Texas?

Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said it's complicated.

"I think it's too early to say whether it's good or bad for the overall economy and what's the significance of this,” Kaplain said after a Greater Houston Partnership event at the Hilton University of Houston. “Because we also don't know how long this is going to last. Or is this going to turn out to be a persistent element."

Tenaris, by the way, has also requested an exemption for tariffs on raw material it imports for its plant in Bay City, southwest of Houston.