Braidy Industries CEO: benefits of Trump aluminum tariffs outweigh costs
President Donald Trump’s proposed 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum will increase costs for Braidy Industries, the company planning to build a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill outside of Ashland, Ky.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- President Donald Trump’s proposed 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum will increase costs for Braidy Industries, the company planning to build a $1.3 billion aluminum rolling mill outside of Ashland, Ky.
But Braidy founder and CEO Craig Bouchard said the company supports the tariffs nonetheless.
“Our costs will go up a little. This is ok,” Bouchard said in an email to WDRB News on Wednesday. “The potential effect on jobs across America may far exceed our increased costs.”
Trump is pushing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum over the objection of powerful members of his own party, including U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The idea is to help American producers such as Chicago-based Century Aluminum, which plans to invest $100 million in its smelter in Hawesville, Ky. and add back 300 jobs, if the tariffs are finalized.
But the policies could hurt other industries that rely on aluminum and steel, such car and appliance manufacturers.
When its factory opens in 2020, Braidy plans to produce aluminum sheet that would be used in cars, airplanes and other applications.
Braidy is just one of several aluminum producers in Kentucky, but Gov. Matt Bevin has called its decision to build the factory here, with more than 500 jobs, transformational for the state.
Braidy also got an unusual $15 million investment from taxpayers through Bevin’s economic development cabinet.
On Thursday, Trump was moving to finalize tariffs but with temporary exemptions to Canada and Mexico, a shift that could soften the blow amid threats of retaliation by trading partners.
Bouchard, who has photos of himself and his daughters with Trump under the “friends and family” section of Braidy’s website, said the tariffs could spur more investment in America.
“My prediction: You will soon see foreign companies reacting to the tariffs by building new plants in United States,” Bouchard said in the email. “The aluminum smelting industry could be one example. Foreign companies will do so in return for negotiated exemption to the tariffs. This is common sense. The negotiations will begin soon, given the President's typical sense of urgency.”
To be sure, Broussard told Bloomberg News in late January that “there’s literally nobody making big business decisions based on tariffs.”
On Tuesday, the aluminum industry’s trade group, the Aluminum Association, said it was “deeply concerned about the effects of a global tariff on aluminum production and jobs in the United States” and called for more “targeted” measures to curb Chinese production of aluminum without affecting Canada and the European Union.