The president’s steel and aluminum tariffs are “killing” a Michigan company, its chairman says.
By Ed Mazza
A Michigan electronics company chairman, who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, now says he feels betrayed and his factory may have to move to Mexico because of the president’s tariffs.
Pat LeBlanc, the chairman of EBW Electronics, told The New York Times that Trump’s tariffs were “killing” the company, which makes lights for the auto industry.
“I just feel so betrayed,” LeBlanc told the newspaper. “If we fail because the company is being harmed by the government, that just makes me sick.”
LeBlanc, a Republican, said he expects 2019 profits will be cut in half.
Cory Steeby, EBW’s president, told the Times the tariffs that make steel and aluminum more expensive to import were “a tax that comes right off the bottom line,” and the company might not have a choice but to move production to avoid them.
“It totally incentivizes you to move out of the United States and build either in Canada or Mexico,” Steeby said. “These are active conversations right now.”
LeBlanc’s latest comments were a far cry from the optimism he expressed just a few years ago when EBW was ranked as one of the fastest-growing companies in the region.
“Yeah, we’re adding jobs and we’re growing faster than anyone else,” LeBlanc boasted in a 2013 interview with the Holland Sentinel. “Getting into LEDs is what really propelled us. And we’re not moving to Mexico.”