Why cutting tariffs will help N.J. companies like mine

As the cost of basic commodities and goods continues to climb, everyday Americans are paying the price. Following years of pandemic-related stagnation, runaway inflation has made a bad situation worse for the American economy. High rates are hurting American consumers and small businesses, and we need policymakers to take action.

In March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the mid-Atlantic region’s year-to-date inflation increase was 7.3%. As a small business owner, I am attuned to how these price shifts hurt the economy.

Michael Roesch. (Stuyvesant Press Inc.)

Located in Irvington, Stuyvesant Press Inc. was established in 1977. We are in the business of printing — and helping customers throughout New Jersey tell their story through smart advertising. It’s important for us to be able to serve all clients with quality work, and we work hard to offer affordable options. However, high inflation in recent months has threatened our business model.

High prices impact all levels of the economy. As businesses struggle with lower revenue, employment opportunities are threatened. High-priced raw materials translate to more expensive finished goods and services, placing a heavy strain on consumers. Customers in turn have limited their spending capacity and injected less money into the economy — more bad news for struggling businesses. We cannot afford economic conditions that threaten further fiscal contractions.

We continue to struggle with the unsustainably high price of wholesale paper, as well as sourcing it from reliable vendors. We have also seen the price of aluminum skyrocket, causing a ripple effect for our business and clients who rely on us to manufacture signs.

Since 2018, the price of aluminum per ton has climbed from $1,600 to more than $3,000. Inflation has limited our customers’ ability to promote their messaging, subsequently threatening businesses potential.

Driving down the price of aluminum by eliminating burdensome tariffs is a promising strategy for promoting economic growth. Section 232 aluminum tariffs have restricted our national access to lower-cost aluminum from overseas markets and heavily contributed to high market prices.

The aluminum industry in New Jersey is highly lucrative. Eliminating Section 232 would help the sector grow. About $130.5 million in wages across the state come from aluminum jobs. Major sectors across the state depend on aluminum, such as manufacturing, which is the third-largest sector in the state economy and generates more than $52 billion in Gross Domestic Product. The industry’s total economic impact, when accounting for the market importance of aluminum, is nearly $1.9 billion.

Additionally, eliminating the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum imports would be an important step in fostering greater environmental stewardship. We at Stuyvesant Press are committed to environmentally conscience practices, recycling virtually 100% of the paper we use. Most of America’s imported aluminum originated from carbon-intensive smelters in China that are fueled by coal. By repealing these tariffs, America could access cleaner aluminum, at lower costs, forged using renewable hydropower from other countries.

American businesses and consumers need lawmakers to address our pressing economic situation. Removing the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum imports would be a smart first step to alleviate growing cost concerns for local, family-owned businesses like Stuyvesant Press.

Addressing these tariffs offers a promising economic solution to high inflation while opening access to cleaner, environmentally friendly aluminum. In doing so, we can establish a path forward that could help New Jersey forge a stronger economy for all residents.

Michael Roesch is the president of Stuyvesant Press Inc.