Tariff talk & its impacts in North Mississippi


HOUSTON and STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Tariffs-talk, talk and more talk.

Although there has been a lot of it, not everything is completely set in stone yet.

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However, “the talk” is already impacting North Mississippi companies.

Tariffs affect more than just one industry and the steel and furniture industries are already feeling the impacts of all the talk.

Tariffs are a really big, complex puzzle and there are winners and losers within that puzzle.

The winners are the ones reaping the benefits from the tariff talk and the losers are the ones dealing with the price increase the talk is causing.

“It might be good for domestic producers of steel and aluminum because they don’t face that, or they don’t face the same level of competition from imports, but purchasers of steel and aluminum that use that to make other products, they’re faced with higher purchase prices,” says MSU Extension Economist, Dr. Josh Maples.

Franklin Corporation in Houston is one of the many industries facing the spike in price.

“Steel has gone up since just the talk. Nothing has happened yet, but just the talk of the tariffs might go up, so the economy as I said, looks good at this point, but it’s very competitive and we’ll see what happens as far as the economy goes,” says Franklin Corporation CEO and owner, Hassell Franklin.

Tariff talks and trade negotiations produce uncertainty and Maples says markets and uncertainty don’t mix.

“We don’t really know how everything is going to end up. We don’t know where things are going to lay whenever all of the retaliation going back and forth is over and so that uncertainty, you know, the impact that it has on markets, while it’s hard to measure, it is negative.”

“China is shipping a lot of finished goods that compete with us into our market at a much lower price, so we’ll see what the tariffs do. That’s a negative for us so far, because we use a lot of steel in stamping our mechanisms.