REDMOND, OR -- President Trump’s new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum aren’t set to start until next week, but at least one local company is already feeling the impact. "Our suppliers flat-out raised our prices less than 30 days ago, and they just announced that we’re supposed to have another price increase in April and possibly one in May," says Roger Dryden, local co-owner of Ridgeline Metal. "The last one was about 5% and we expect maybe that same amount for the next one or two." And, he expects to pass those along to his clients. Dryden says it’s not unusual to experience a couple of increases throughout the year, based on demand. But, as many as three increases in three months, he says, is unusual.
The Redmond-based company makes custom siding, roofing and other building supplies for customers across the Pacific Northwest. Dryden says 99% of their raw materials are American made, mostly from suppliers in Washington, California and Texas, so he was caught off guard by the price hikes. "It was feared; and I think what we’re seeing is the domestic mills saying, ‘Finally, we can get back to a little better profit margin because we’re not fighting that lower-cost, poorer quality product'." He tells KBND News, "Domestic mills are raising their prices because, basically, they can due to the tariffs added to the export market. But, we don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing; we see it more as leveling the playing field between export product and domestic product." He says for years, the U.S. market has been flooded with cheap products from overseas, mostly from China. The low-quality, low-cost metal is difficult to warranty.
Dryden worries any positive effects of the President's decision might be short-lived, since Mexico and Canada are exempt from the tariff, "What we expect to happen is for these export countries to ship to Mexico or Canada, have it sit in a warehouse for a month and then they’ll deliver it later anyway. So, we don’t know how long this will even be in existence."