State Economic Development Leaders Tout Business Growth Amidst International Tariffs

Sep 18, 2018

A day after President Donald Trump announced another $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese products, members of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) insisted they remain optimistic about statewide business growth.

The group met Tuesday in Lafayette to discuss 3rd quarter data. Business leaders presented numbers showing their yearly goals are on track to be met by the end of 2018 – even as the state continues to miss targets for corporate income tax collections most months.

IEDC President Elaine Bedel says while the group has raised concerns to national leaders, it’s still hard to tell what exactly will happen to businesses in Indiana with the ongoing tariffs.

“We’re supportive of the federal government trying to make things fair and a level playing field,” she says. “But, you know, it does cause for a situation where maybe there needs to be little bit of transition that’ll have to happen with pricing and those types of things here.”

After the meeting, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-Ind.) boarded a plane to northern Italy to chat with automotive industry executives about investing in Indiana. Bedel says overseas tariffs have increased interest in the Hoosier state from international businesses.

“I was mentioning that to someone the other day and they said, 'Well interestingly enough we’re getting a lot more inquiries from foreign companies who say we want to come there and produce so we’re not subject to the tariffs,'” Bedel says. 

Also at the meeting, U.S. Steel -- a company Trump claims will benefit from the steel tariffs -- was granted an IEDC tax credit for upgrades to its Lake County facilities and attempts to retain jobs there.

The ongoing trade war has caused prices on U.S.-made goods to go up, in addition to U.S. consumers paying higher prices for products imported from overseas.