Vermont business fear the worst on Pres. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariff

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For businesses relying on steel and aluminum, it’s been three weeks of uncertainty.

“It was almost impossible with the short timeline on this where we went from one week it was in a tweet to the next week it was signed into order to two weeks later it goes into effect,” said Bradley Gillilan, Leader Evaporator President.

The Swanton-based company is the largest manufacturer of sugaring equipment in the country. Gillilan believes the tariffs will lead to higher steel prices.

Gillilan said, “It’s in almost every product that you see us manufacture.”

President Trump’s tariffs include a 25% tax on steel and 10% on aluminum imports.

Gillilan said, “We’re already hearing from the domestic steel suppliers which is where most of our steel coming from still, that they’re going to have pretty significant price increases as a result of a tariff because they can.”

Gillilan says the effects could trickle down to consumers, he’s worried it could hurt his bottom line and lead to downsizing.

“50 people a day out here are just dedicated to manufacturing of those 50, 40 plus of them are working with sheet metal every day,” said Gillilan.

Senator Patrick Leahy shares many of the same concerns and toured the facility last week. Governor Phil Scott says he’s looking at how this could impact Vermont’s ties with Canada.

“In terms of retribution, particularly with our friends to the north, I would desperately like to see us come to a conclusion on some sort of agreement with NAFTA,” said Scott, R- Vermont.

In the meantime Gillilan and his team will continue to monitor the industry and the tariff implications.

Gillilan said, “You just can’t have that type of uncertainty in your planning process, we don’t have the kind of margins to be able to take that on.”

President Trump announced another series of tariffs Thursday on roughly $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

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