Utah roller coaster company faces uncertainties in face of Trump tariff plans
Mar 9, 2018, 5:09 PM | Updated: 9:59 pm
LOGAN — President Trump’s announcement this week that he plans to impose a 25 percent tariff, or tax, increase on imported steel and a 10 percent hike for aluminum, could harm a number of Utah companies that use those products.
S & S Worldwide in Logan makes equipment used in amusement park rides around the world, which means they use a lot of steel, so news about the tariffs is a big deal for their bottom line.
“Steel is the primary component of everything we do, from the track to the structure, to everything that goes into our rides,” Jason Mons, S & S Worldwide Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President said Friday.
If you’ve been on a roller coaster or other ride, either at Utah’s Lagoon, or another amusement park, chances are S & S Worldwide had something to do with it. Since 1994, the company has been at the forefront of producing the fastest, most creative and often terrifying riding experiences.
“The amusement park industry is booming worldwide, from Orlando to China to Europe,” Mons said. “It’s growing every day and new rides are being introduced around the world every day.”
Creating and building those rides, takes tons and tons of steel. S & S works with suppliers which bring in steel from around the world, and the talk of increased tariffs is causing some concern. Mons said steel prices began going up weeks ago, before the tariff was official. He said higher prices and higher tariffs will certainly affect the bottom line.
“We’re talking about uncertainties about contracts that we may have already signed and have prices already locked in for ourselves, and how we’re going to supply those contracts that are still out a year or maybe two.” Mons added, “We recently got a quote from a supplier and the quote was significantly more than the last time we purchased from them, and their reasoning for that was because of the uncertainties of what the tariffs was going to do.”
The increased import tariffs also has generated fear of trade wars developing between other countries and the U.S.
Utah is ranked No. 6 in the nation for trade exports, a $12-billion industry. Retaliation against businesses here, many of them small, could hurt.
“We’re already hearing other countries like China and like the European Union saying if you’re going to increase prices on our goods, we’re going to raise prices on your goods,” said Derek Miller, President & CEO of World Trade Center Utah.
“We use steel, and we use aluminum,” Miller said. “We’re an advanced manufacturing economy. So we have, by our count, over 200 companies that could impact over 9,000 employees and could impact their jobs by driving up prices. It makes them less competitive in the global marketplace.”