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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World Economy -> 
As tariffs bite, small US manufacturers tap the brakes
    2018-05-07  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

ENCOURAGED by booming demand for construction equipment, Mike Haberman was planning in early February to hire at least 30 more workers for the manufacturing facility of his Gradall Industries in Ohio, the United States.

That plan now is shelved, Haberman said, because the cost of steel used in Gradall’s telescopic excavators and vacuum trucks shot up by one-third following U.S. President Donald Trump’s crackdown on steel imports. As steel costs account for 35 percent of his cost of production, he fears rising prices would not only hurt his export sales, but also give an edge to foreign rivals at home.

“At this point, we really need more visibility before we would bring in more workers,” he said.

When Trump signed a US$1.5 trillion package of tax cuts at the end of 2017, supporters predicted businesses would respond this year with a burst of hiring and investment.

But recent interviews with more than a dozen small to mid-sized manufacturing executives and recent U.S. economic data reveal Trump’s protectionist trade policy is starting to lead some of them to take a more cautious approach, and forcing them to put new investment and hiring plans on hold.

These manufacturers complained that the steel and aluminum tariffs along with the escalating trade spat with China were undercutting benefits.

Trump has proposed a separate 25-percent import tariff on some 1,300 Chinese products to try. If the tariff comes into effect, they would upend Haberman’s components supplies from China, he said.

Trump justified the measure, arguing that the tariffs would re-open closed mills, sustain a skilled workforce, and maintain or increase production.

But the tariffs, which came into effect March 23, have driven up raw material costs and caused supply delays, according to these company executives.

Mike Schmitt, president at The Metalworking Group in Ohio, said his metal fabrication company has lost around a thousand hours repricing and renegotiating contracts because it can’t honor the old prices.

The company has delayed plans to spend around US$500,000 on equipment this year and bring on new staff to expand.

The latest U.S. Institute for Supply Management survey showed how widespread that sentiment is: manufacturers slowed down hiring for a second straight month in April amid complaints that the tariffs have brought business planning to a standstill.(SD-Agencies)

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