Fed official hears how tariffs affect Oklahoma manufacturers
Sep. 02, 2018
CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) — Manufacturers in Oklahoma have been able to voice their concerns to federal officials about the negative impact of tariffs resulting from an international trade dispute.
Pelco Structural President Phil Albert spoke Monday to Chad Wilkerson, a branch executive with the Federal Reserve Bank. Wilkerson was in Claremore as part of an effort to gather information on a local level to help in policy-making decisions, as well as share what federal officials are seeing and how that's affecting economic policies, the Tulsa World reported.
Albert said he's had to cut more than 70 employees and put capital expenditures on hold because of the tariffs. The tariffs have also resulted in customers' delaying new purchases in hopes that prices will stabilize, he said.
"We are using our capital to protect inventory, something we didn't do 13 years ago or as recently as 12 months ago," Albert said. "I'm a metal-bashing business. I make big pieces of steel for infrastructure applications, and even in my business I suffer sensitivity to global markets."
Wilkerson spoke at Rogers State University Tuesday to give a presentation on national and local economic indicators. He said that the national economy is very strong and that expectations for factory production, employment and capital spending remain high despite the tariffs.
"There are some notable exceptions that have been hit very hard," he said.
Albert said voicing his concerns could jumpstart corrective measures on a national scale.
"Hopefully the unintended consequences of these tariffs will be corrected," he said. "And hopefully people will be as sensitive to businesses in my space — providing employment and trying to grow — as they are to steel worker jobs in Granite City, Illinois."
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com