CHICAGO — Celebrating its 50th anniversary in the steel industry, The Lex Group released the following statement by Lex Central President Bill Douglass regarding the ongoing debate on steel tariffs and Section 232. 

Douglass stated:

“Tariffs are generally not a preferred solution so long as the marketplace supports a fair and reasonable price that allows the producer a fair profit. The long-term key to sustainability in the steel market is fair trade, and domestic policies that promote manufacturing.

Since my family began running the Lex Group 27 years ago, we have seen tariffs and quotas numerous times, China and other countries have dumped steel into the United States, the steel industry economically collapsed twice, and our manufacturing customers have been decimated as well. The only difference is that the price of steel had very little to do with it. Manufacturing has declined when steel prices were low, and it has declined when prices were high.

The bottom line is that the steel and manufacturing industries need world markets that are open to all American products. Right now, the trade balance is unfair and if we don’t take a stand against foreign trade barriers, the price of steel will be irrelevant because there won’t be any American manufacturers left to buy it. While we don’t expect everything to be perfectly in balance, we much prefer hearing customers talk about issues like overtime and hiring more people. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to hear that perspective.

When balance returns, responsible pricing will return, and tariffs will no longer be needed.  In the meantime, the tariffs are the only vehicle available to achieve the desired end result.”