Steel business honored by Trump administration hit hard by tariffs

The new tariffs are creating turmoil within the GOP. And just outside of Rockwall in Campbell, Texas —QMF Steel isn't too happy either.

CAMPBELL, Texas —After President Donald Trump announced sweeping tariffs on steel and aluminum Thursday, one metal company his administration honored is telling WFAA that the move will cost them millions.

President Trump ordered 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and a 10 percent levy on imported aluminum from every country except for Canada and Mexico. It will take effect in 15 days.

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The new tariffs are creating turmoil within the GOP.

US Rep. Pete Sessions of Dallas sounded off to WFAA saying, “While I understand the need to make sure we are engaged in trade deals that put Americans first, a broad set of tariffs on would roll back the progress we have made, make American businesses less competitive internationally, and raise prices on American consumers.”

And just outside of Rockwall in Campbell, Texas —QMF Steel isn’t too happy either.

“What’s in front of me right now, is a bit ugly,” co-owner Steve Lester said.

QMF has been in operation since 1994 and has 32 employees. It’s a custom metal fabrication business and a metal distributor.

The entire plant runs heavy on automation, and the company rolls deep when it comes to pricey contracts and projects across America.

According to Lester, QMF makes and builds metal products for the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The company has also helped during the construction of major highways in Texas like I-635 and I-30.

Many reasons why Linda McMahon, the Administrator for the Small Business Association and a member of President Trump’s Cabinet, named QMF the 2017 National Prime Contractor of the Year.

Pundits say President Trump’s tariffs are a push to rejuvenate mills and get more companies to buy metal in America. But the move is creating major demand in the states and is making prices climb.

Steve’s wife Sherrill Lester runs QMF’s finances and has spent the last 24 hours buying as much steel as she can.

So far, she says the company has spent $1.5 million so future projects for the next year and a half can have supplies.

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“In some places, prices have doubled,” she said. “You have to lock your price in while you can.”

And here’s why -- QMF has already negotiated pricing on a number of contracts and projects. With steel and aluminum prices going up, they’ll have to pay for any extra costs.

“The customer is going to pay based on what we agreed to in the contract, they’re not going to pay for more than what’s there,” she said. “We can’t renegotiate our price now that this has happened.”

She and her husband couldn't say how much but expect they’ll lose millions over the next two years because of that.

The company was going to hire five more employees, but Lester said that’s not going to happen now.

“I think Mr. Trump has wonderful intentions, but it’s sure not turning out beneficial to us,” Lester said.