California steel fabricators expect tariffs to increase pricing

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California steel fabricators expect tariffs to increase pricing after President Trump signed a proclamation Thursday on imports of steel and aluminum to address what he says is an "assault on our country."

Far from the political crowd, in a region better known for chicken processing, we have entered a corner of American and political enterprise that stretches back to 1901.

"People drive by this place and they have no idea. Then they look inside and they are like, 'oh my gosh, look at what you guys can do!" said Royce Van Bebber, the fifth generation boss of family-owned Van Bebber Brothers steel fabricating company. If you wonder how steel tariffs may impact average Americans, begin by asking here. "Steel prices are starting to increase rapidly. We've seen 10 to 15 percent in prices from steel mills in just the last 30 days," Benner said.

Before President Trump made the foreign tariffs official, Thursday afternoon, pricing had been speculative. "Fear-driven," Bebber said.

FULL SPEECH: Trump signs proclamation on steel, aluminum tariffs

His company buys steel from local and foreign manufacturers, then turns it into pipes, floors, conduits, tractor parts, even battle bots. "Anything customers want, we can make it. And, a lot of the time we don't know what it's used for," he said.

Bebber does know that if steel prices rise, he will be charging more. "It just gets passed on to the consumer," he said.

RELATED: White House chief economic adviser resigns after losing tariff battle

As Trump described it, a tariff on foreign steel will boost American industry and jobs. That's high-level stuff to the 31 employees at Van Bebber. They are craftsmen, not economists.

Among them, Kyle Edgbert is not sure what to make about a foreign tariff. "If the economy is going to tank then it is counter-productive. But if it brings more jobs and money back to America I might help the economy. I don't disagree with it. If we have the capabilities here, then why not do it," he said.
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