Impact of proposed steel, aluminum tariffs

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BISMARCK, N.D. - President Donald Trump says his new tariffs on steel and aluminum are good for America, but how might that impact North Dakota?

The proposed tariffs are 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Owners here at BEP and they say the agriculture industry in the state is likely to be hit hardest.

"If you add 25 percent to the material cost that's going to greatly hurt these small home built market for ag," said Robert Field, co-owner.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., didn't seem thrilled with the idea of tariffs either.

"We need to make sure that trade actions don't cost American jobs, or raise prices for consumers, or lead to retaliation by major trading partners that could harm other U.S. sectors like ag or energy," Hoeven said.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., took an even stronger stance saying, "North Dakota's economy needs a trade war like a cow needs a hamburger. Fifty percent of North Dakota's exports to the European Union are agricultural and construction machinery, and 60 percent of our exports to China are agricultural products."

Field doesn't expect the U.S. Steel market to rebound instantly.

"That would be years down the road, you don't build a steel mill overnight," Field said.

While we wait for the steel bounce back, threats of a trade war with China and Europe loom large.

Domestic steel is not in abundance right now. Field says whenever he has to bid a government project, the most difficult thing is locating domestic steel.