Executive Briefings

On the West Coast, Ports Brace for Steel Tariffs

It's a normal weekday at the Port of Vancouver. That means by noon, piles of steel slab cover the work yard at the docks on the Columbia River.

"Steel is tied to about a third of our revenue. So that's pretty substantial," says Abbi Russell, communications manager for the Port of Vancouver in Washington state, the second-largest importer of steel products on the West Coast. In 2017, the port unloaded 712,834 metric tons of steel.

The Port of Vancouver and manufacturers in the Northwest and along the West Coast are closely monitoring a 25 percent tariff President Trump recently placed on imported steel.

Some steel manufacturers around the U.S. say the Trump administration's tariffs will let them create jobs. But on the West Coast, many ports rely on steel from Pacific Rim countries that are subject to the tariffs.

The tariffs have drawn criticism from factories, economists and even Republican Rep. Jaime Hererra Beutler, who represents southwest Washington — a region where many counties flipped for Trump and voted Republican in 2016. One of those did so for the first time since Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928.

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"Steel is tied to about a third of our revenue. So that's pretty substantial," says Abbi Russell, communications manager for the Port of Vancouver in Washington state, the second-largest importer of steel products on the West Coast. In 2017, the port unloaded 712,834 metric tons of steel.

The Port of Vancouver and manufacturers in the Northwest and along the West Coast are closely monitoring a 25 percent tariff President Trump recently placed on imported steel.

Some steel manufacturers around the U.S. say the Trump administration's tariffs will let them create jobs. But on the West Coast, many ports rely on steel from Pacific Rim countries that are subject to the tariffs.

The tariffs have drawn criticism from factories, economists and even Republican Rep. Jaime Hererra Beutler, who represents southwest Washington — a region where many counties flipped for Trump and voted Republican in 2016. One of those did so for the first time since Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928.

Read full article