How new tariffs could affect North Country workers

MASSENA, N.Y. (WCAX) President Donald Trump announced Thursday he plans to put a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. But he's excluding Canada and Mexico in exchange for renegotiating NAFTA.

"We're going to hold off the tariff on those two countries to see if we're able to make the deal," the president said.

Workers at Alcoa in Massena, New York, are thrilled.

"Excitement, joy and happiness. It feels like we've got a fighting chance against foreign competition again," an Alcoa worker said.

And company headquarters likes the carve-out for Canada. In a statement, Alcoa said, "We believe vital trading partners, including Canada, should be exempt from any tariff on aluminum. The aluminum industry has an integrated supply chain and actions should not penalize those that abide by the rules."

But while Alcoa is pleased, others are questioning the tariffs. If Alcoa increases production of aluminum, they put out more product and charge a higher price than they could before. Former North Country Congressman Bill Owens warns that could reduce demand.

"And that then ultimately slows down the use of aluminum," Owens said.

But Owens is glad we are not slapping tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum because they could do the same thing to us.

"Very little impact to us locally in the short term if Canada were to impose. However, tariffs on goods being exported from the United States to Canada then, depending on what those goods are, people could be impacted by that," Owens said.

President Trump says his tariff plan includes a provision allowing any country with a security relationship with the U.S. to discuss its impact with him.

Owens says he thinks the U.S. could see retaliation from countries paying the tariff.