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Trump's Tariffs Lead To Layoffs At Steel Beer Keg Company

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Another controversial Trump administration policy took effect yesterday - tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Some businesses are already feeling the impact. When the tariffs were first proposed, we talked to Paul Czachor. He's the CEO of the American Keg Company in Pottstown, Pa. The company bills itself as the only American keg manufacturer that uses 100 percent domestic steel. A few weeks ago, he was cautiously optimistic. But things look different for Czachor now.

PAUL CZACHOR: Ten out of 30 employees were let go, unfortunately. It's very disappointing. I mean, all of our employees count on us to help them support their families, so any time we have to let someone go, especially for no fault of their own, it's devastating.

MCCAMMON: With these tariffs, he says the numbers just don't add up.

CZACHOR: When you look at a stainless steel keg that we make, it's all domestic steel, so we purchase all the steel here in the U.S. Once those tariffs were discussed and then implemented here, our pricing for the domestic steel started to go up. And the difference between an import keg and an American-made keg is greater than it was, say, four months ago or five months ago.

MCCAMMON: Czachor explains that at the moment, there are no tariffs on imported kegs, but because there's a tariff on steel, the kegs his company makes cost about $20 more than the ones that come in from China.

CZACHOR: There's only so much that a customer is willing to pay to buy an American-made keg. So we have a lot of patriotic customers, but as that price difference continues to increase, we lose sales. And as a result of losing sales, we had to reduce some of our workforce.

MCCAMMON: Czachor isn't sure how the president's other tariffs on Chinese imports will affect his company.

CZACHOR: We're very optimistic with the administration talking about job growth and bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., being more competitive in manufacturing. We just need him to continue to look at this and fix it.

MCCAMMON: That was Paul Czachor, the CEO of the American Keg Company in Pottstown, Pa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.