Tariffs and the Trucking Industry

Officials at some of the U.S.’s biggest trade gateways are concerned that new restrictions on steel and aluminum imports could be detrimental to industries that rely on those raw goods– the trucking industry included. Automobile and auto-parts manufacturers in the Southeast region rely heavily on ports for importing the raw components of their goods, as well as the exportation of finished products. Car manufacturers, and all the people involved in that process, are  a large part of our global trade. Under these new tariffs, these companies cannot operate at the same levels they were before the tariffs were approved, which will be reflected in the economy if our trade partners decide to implement retaliatory measures. Should our trade partners institute their own tariffs, the agricultural industry could be affected as well. Most likely, the U.S. steel and aluminum restrictions will not just slow down the import and export of metals, it will affect almost every facet of trade: food, clothes, wood (and wood products), plastic, etc…

The tariffs will also affect jobs in some areas, most notably in the Northwest, where around 40% of the jobs are related to international trade. Experts in that region are worried that blanket tariffs will risk the job market, as well as the overall quality of life. The biggest concern is over retaliation and the subsequent spike in consumer prices. If consumer prices are raised, it will be mirrored in the costs of the trucking industry. In the long term, the United States may see a loss in cargo volume and jobs that depend on it; from port and dock workers, all the way through the chain of suppliers. There is no doubt that the industry will find a way to navigate these circumstances should they arise, but it certainly will not come easily. There is the possibility that the country can displace the loss of imports with domestic production, and the transportation industry will play a major role should that be the case.

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Written By: Shayla Powers

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