Louisiana pipe company thrives under Trump tariffs

Editor’s note: The tariff/job creation stories are only in the local/regional papers, like this one. Not on the national news because it does not fit their narrative. 

Jackie Rosenberg, the owner of a Louisiana pipe company founded by a Holocaust survivor more than 60 years ago, said President Donald Trump’s tariffs are good for America despite higher costs for the raw material he buys.

[ Greg Hilburn | August 30, 2018 | The News Star ]

Sol’s Pipe and Steel, which employs about 100 at its Monroe plant, has supplied steel pipe to help to rebuild lower Manhattan in New York City following 9/11 and to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“America shouldn’t be in a position where it has to rely on foreign steel for its ships, tanks and skyscrapers,” said Jackie Rosenberg. “It’s a strategic metal.”

Rosenberg’s late father, Sol Rosenberg, was the only member of his Polish family to survive the Nazi death camps and immigrate to the United States. His remarkable journey was chronicled in the book “Sol’s Story, A Triumph of the Human Spirit” by Richard Chardkoff.

Rosenberg’s company doesn’t make steel, but buys plates to roll custom pipes in a nationwide business catering to municipal and industrial utility and flood control project customers.

Sol’s Pipe and Steel also has a regional business that resells raw steel plates to customers from Acadiana to Alexandria to Shreveport.

Rosenberg said the company stockpiled an inventory of steel before the tariffs, which increased the value of what he had in stock when steel prices rose.

He has since had to buy steel at higher prices after exhausting his inventory, but he said a booming economy hasn’t reduced demand for his pipe or plates.

Rosenberg said steel prices have risen about 25 percent since the tariffs were put in place, but the more expensive material hasn’t dampened “a strong surge in our own business” in 2018, although he declined to provide specific revenue.

And the tariffs aren’t the only factor in steel price increases. Steel producers like South Korea and Brazil weren’t hit with U.S. tariffs but were limited by quotas as to how much steel they can sell in the U.S.

“South Korea shipped its 2018 quota during the first quarter of the year,” he said, “so that’s having as big an impact as the tariffs.”

Ultimately, Rosenburg said he believes Trumps tariffs will lead to better trade deals for all, and he pointed to concessions already from the European Union and Mexico.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I’m confident we’re going to see a playing field that is more fair for all industries,” Rosenberg said.


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