FAIRFIELD, Ohio — New data announced by tarrifshurt.com is showing that tariffs imposed on trade is impacting Ohio businesses dramatically.
- Ohioans alone paid an extra $1.6 billion in import taxes on imported products subject to Trump administration tariffs
- Farmers in Ohio are struggling to make ends meet, which is causing an increase in foreclosures and suicides in the farming community
- Aluminum and metal processing businesses are having to cut jobs to balance the impact of lost profits
One of those businesses is Art Metals Group in Fairfield, Ohio. And one of their top exports are ball bearings. In fact, about 25 percent of its sales are exported to Canada, Mexico and Spain.
But since the Trump Administration implemented additional tariffs on imported goods — mainly Chinese goods — retaliatory tariffs are causing a big loss in profits, leading to job losses at Art Metals Group and other companies across both the state and country.
The new data estimates that Ohioans alone have paid an extra $1.6 billion as a result of these new import taxes.
“You’re paying for the tariffs, you just aren’t aware of it, but you are paying for it.” Marlon Bailey, President and CEO of Art Metals Group said. “The tariffs are adversely affecting industries, particularly the metal and aluminum processing businesses. We have had a ton of job losses. Over 200,000 and all to support 30-40,000 additional jobs for the steel and aluminum manufacturers. It’s not balanced, it’s not equitable. So, we want that to change, we want the tariffs to be removed.”
Since the trade war began during the Trump administration, Ohio exports have faced $767 million in new retaliatory tariffs from trading partners, according to the data from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland. They say, ultimately, that makes Ohio exports less competitive on a global scale.
To raise awareness and spur action, a roundtable discussion was held at Art Metals Group to raise awareness on how retaliatory tariffs are hurting Ohio’s economy and industry.
Farmers who joined this discussion say, after a rough growing season this past spring, tariffs created new challenges. Shelby County Farmer Chris Gibbs says it’s caused a profound impact that goes even deeper than dollars and cents.
“The unintended consequences of this tariff battle back and forth with all of our trading partners, including China — and that’s the human cost,” Gibbs said. “The human effects in the farm community, we’ve seen it across the nation — an increase in bankruptcies, an increase in suicides as well. And that’s extremely important for your viewers to understand, that the human cost of this, the stress imposed on the agriculture community is human, it’s real and it’s at a personal level.”
Evenflo, who make juvenile products like car seats, is another company that claims it has been hit hard by retaliatory tariffs. While their car seats are molded here in Piqua, the harnesses are imported from China and then integrated into the finished product. Those harnesses are tariffed on List 4, and Evenflo General Counsel Amy Blankenship said it’s impacting them greatly.
“It’s hampering our ability to maintain the same cost structure for consumers,” Blankenship said. “We have always been known as a company that produces a safe, effective and affordable product for the US consumer. And we would like to continue being able to do that, and giving the consumers choices when it comes to their purchase of a car seat. This has been very challenging in order to be able to accomplish that, as you can imagine.”
While the trade war has taken a toll on some industries, Cedarville Professor of Finance, Dr. Jeff Guernsey says tariffs can have positive effects as well.
“An import tariff does or may benefit some parties,” Guernsey said. “The parties it would benefit would be domestic competitors of those companies that are sending imports to Ohio. And the reason for that is a company that is importing goods from China is now going to pay a higher price for whatever they’re buying from China because of the tariff. What that does is, for a domestic producer, that gives them some room, if you will, or some relief from price pressure and may actually allow that domestic producer to increase prices. Thereby, Ohioans or purchasers of those products, either foreign or domestic, may end up paying more.”
President Trump is expected to ease, but not eliminate, some of the tariffs in mid-January, but this panel says more needs to be done, to ease the burden here in Ohio.
“Congress needs to not cede its responsibility to the White House,” Gibbs said. “They need to step in. And number two, for the President, this is real easy — Mr. President, tear down these tariffs.”
“To our congressmen and the administration, I would say first: if you want to help the steel and aluminum industries, please go ahead,” Bailey said. “You can incent them, or literally invest in them. Do that. But pull the tariffs off so that you’re not affecting jobs in the steel and aluminum processing industry.”
“Probably the best solution, from my perspective, is for all parties to lower or eliminate their tariffs,” Guernsey said. “And let people and let countries do what they do best, whether that’s produce domestically or import from another place.”