Trade Tariffs and Iron Doors - How Tariffs and Sanctions Affect The Iron Industry

Let's rewind to 2017 for a moment.

Donald Trump is the U.S. President, and his Twitter feed is full of tweets where he claims that imposing tariffs on a host of Chinese goods is the key to revitalizing America's economy. On top of that, he claims it'll aid American security by preventing intellectual property theft and making it so that America's economic growth isn't dependent on a country some would deem an "enemy."

Fast-forward to a year later and Trump is in office. One of his first actions was to finally impose the tariffs he'd claimed were needed for so long - China being his main target. Those tariffs affected companies all over the country, changing the value of goods and raising the cost of iron and steel across the board.

And that's where you come in.

As somebody who's considering steel or wrought iron doors for their house, price is a major factor. Tariffs change prices, affecting exports and the price of metal on the international market. All of which brings us to the questions we're going to answer in this article:

What were Trump's trade tariffs and what did they mean - and continue to mean - for those who want to install steel and iron doors?

Explaining the Tariffs - Donald Trump's Trade War

Why did Trump want tariffs in the first place?

The benefits - according to Trump - were that his tariffs would narrow the trade deficit between the United States and the nations with which it trades. His argument was simple - China buys far less American-made goods than the U.S. buys Chinese-made products. To redress that balance, bringing exports and imports closer to parity, tariffs could be implemented on everything from metals to glass to drive up prices.

Domestic consumers in the United States would buy fewer Chinese-made (or internationally-made) products, with American manufacturers benefiting as a result. So, the supposed benefits are that domestic companies end up making more money from consumers while companies from other countries make less.

That money was supposed to get put back into America's economy - creating new jobs as the domestic companies grew - ultimately leading to the U.S. becoming a more productive nation as a result.

The Extent of Trump's Tariffs

While the idea of boosting domestic companies isn't bad, the downside is that Trump's tariffs essentially amounted to an enormous tax placed on the American people. That's according to the Tax Foundation, which says that the tariffs placed on international exporters during Trump's time in office amounted to an $80 billion tax on goods worth around $380 billion in total being shipped into the country.

Worse yet for Trump, many countries that manufacture products that Americans use every day responded in kind by implementing tariffs of their own.

The result - according to the Tax Foundation - will be substantial in the coming years. It estimates that Trump's tariffs will reduce America's gross domestic product (GDP) by a significant percentage over the next decade. GDP will drop by 0.21% - a loss of billions of dollars - with wages also declining by 0.14%. Worse yet, a staggering 166,000 people seem set to lose their jobs.

Add to that the costs of retaliatory tariffs implemented on goods the U.S. intends to export. While not as significant - amounting to a GDP loss of 0.04% and the loss of 29,000 jobs - these costs show that the world wasn't happy with Trump's approach.

The Two Most Important Tariffs

So, with tariffs having such a marked impact on America's future, the question now is what were those tariffs? After all, with economists generally agreeing that tariffs are bad for trade - as well as for the average consumer - it helps to have an example or two of what Trump wanted to achieve with these measures.

There are two tariffs - one affecting China and the other the steel industry as a whole - that matter to you if you're thinking of installing steel or iron doors.

Section 232 - Steel and Aluminum

This tariff applied to almost all imported steel - which had a 25% tariff placed upon it - as well as imported aluminum, which had a 10% tariff. According to the Tax Foundation, the tariff ultimately ended up being around $11 billion based on the combined imported value of the two. However, there was a catch:

Not every country was included in this tariff.

Specifically, the U.S. didn't apply the tariff to Australia. It was also lifted for Canada and Mexico after a year, with other countries - including Brazil and Argentina - having quotas of non-tariffed materials in place.

Apart from those countries, anybody in the steel or aluminum industries had to pay a lot of money before their products could get through the metaphorical gates that Trump decided to erect.

Section 301 - Chinese Products

As the name implies, this tariff homed in specifically on China, with Trump's goal seeming to be to make the country slightly more insulated from the global economy by making it subject to extensive tariffs on its products.

Ultimately, the tariff amounted to a $12.5 billion tax placed on around $50 billion of a huge collection of Chinese products, with those tariffs being rolled out in two stages between July and August 2018. A third stage - focusing on another $200 billion of China's exports - went into enforcement in September 2018, with an initial 10% rate.

That wasn't enough for Trump.

He chose to adjust the rate applied to importation and subjected those goods to a 25% tariff from May 2019.

The Impact of the Tariffs on Steel Imports and Steel Businesses

The effects of Trump's tariffs took a couple of years to really have a marked effect on steel producers in the United States. They also came at a massive cost to the American taxpayer - The Washington Post claims that each new job the tariffs created cost around $900,000.

And to be fair to the tariffs, they did start to have a minor effect on domestic steel. PBS says that homegrown steel producers created around 1,000 new jobs between March 2018 and November 2019, which is when the tariffs on international steel were in full effect. However, it also describes those increases as "muted," suggesting that they may have happened anyway, regardless of the tax placed on foreign steel.

More worrying were the effects these tariffs had on companies that used steel (or iron and aluminum) to make their products.

PBS also says that the increases in the cost of steel placed those companies at a disadvantage. They were either forced to swallow the higher costs - hurting their bottom lines in the process - or pass them on to their consumers. Research also indicates that these issues actually led to a reduction in American exports:

Overseas consumers weren't willing to pay more for American products just because they were made using American steel.

The Negative Economic Impacts

Let's remind ourselves why Trump put these tariffs in place.

The idea was to essentially build up the steel and aluminum industries at home by increasing the cost of imported steel. Companies that used foreign steel - i.e. literally thousands of businesses in the U.S. - would choose to buy American, bolstering the domestic industry in the process. That increased income would lead to domestic steel producers growing, creating more jobs and strengthening the economy in the process.

And that happened, to a minor extent.

However, PBS points out that essentially losing access to international steel caused major problems elsewhere. It all comes down to a higher cost of input - firms that rely on steel to make their products got stung even as homegrown steel producers started to grow. The 1,000 jobs the tariffs created in the steel industry were offset massively by the loss of 75,000 manufacturing jobs, along with higher costs for consumers.

Biden's Tariff Removals (and Maintenance)

Trump's tariffs caused a massive amount of controversy, both at home and abroad. Domestically, there was a clear impact made on the steel and manufacturing sectors, as highlighted above. However, there were also questions being asked internationally, specifically about the legality of the tariffs. The World Trade Organization (WTO) went further than most - it alleged that the tariffs broke several international trade rules.

So, when President Joe Biden came into office, you might have expected him to remove Trump's tariffs.

And he an extent.

In October 2021, Biden signed an agreement that essentially lifted the majority of the tariffs Trump had put in place for steel and aluminum, at least as they related to the European Union (E.U.). Biden declared, "It immediately removes tariffs on the European Union" when speaking about the agreement, but all was not as it seemed.

Though Biden did relieve the tariff, he didn't remove it entirely. E.U.-based steel and aluminum producers instead faced quotes - based on historical data - that told them how much steel they could export to the U.S. before they'd face a tax on any future products. It was better than how it was under Trump and his tariffs, but it wasn't the return to free trade that economists believe would be better for America.

What About the Chinese Tariffs?

Biden’s approach to Trump’s tariffs on China was a little different from the one he took on the tariffs for steel and aluminum.

In short – he kept most of China’s tariffs in place.

The Tax Foundation estimates those tariffs now account for $71 billion of the $74 billion of the revenue that tariffs generate, and they're unlikely to go away anytime soon. Commentators suggest that Biden is likely to keep the tariffs in place - at least during the upcoming election period - so that Trump can't accuse him of being "soft" on China when he's on the campaign trail.

It's a risky strategy that potentially furthers the trade war going on between the U.S. and China. It also means that around $300 billion of Chinese products will continue to be subjected to tariffs, regardless of whether Biden or Trump is the president come 2025.

How the Tariffs Impact Steel and Wrought Iron Doors

"This is all well and good," you might be saying to yourself. "But what does it have to do with PINKYS, its products, and my goal of getting my hands on some iron or steel doors for my home?"

Air 5 Interior - Double Full Arch - Removable Threshold - PINKYS

It's a good question that we can answer by looking at the tariffs - and their impact on us, and you as a result - in a few ways.

The Best Time to Buy Was Pre-Steel Tariffs

There's no getting around this simple fact - imported steel was cheaper for manufacturers to buy before Trump put the Section 232 tariffs in place. Using PINKYS as an example, we manufacture all of our iron and steel doors in the United States but may use imported steel to do so. Even when we go domestic, we still have to pay a higher price for steel than we would have pre-tariffs.

Before the tariffs would have been the best time to buy almost anything for your home. Every frame - whether that be for a door or your windows - would cost less and, crucially, rise in value once the tariffs were in place. If you were in a position to buy back in 2017 or 2018, your home is likely worth a little more thanks to Trump's tariffs.


The steel and aluminum used in your home are now worth more. It costs more to buy, so any new homeowner will be delighted to find it in a home they intend to buy. So, if you bought a steel or iron door pre-tariffs and now intend to sell, then congratulations - you may be able to add a little more to your asking price.

Prices of Steel, Iron, and Aluminum Products Went Up During the Tariffs

Think of Trump's tariffs as a tax on almost every scrap of metal that entered the United States.

Any manufacturer that used imported steel for their products - such as PINKYS - was placed in a no-win situation. They either had to absorb the higher costs of imported steel or switch to domestic steel, with the latter rarely costing less than imported steel even with tariffs applied. Or, they had to pass the higher costs of their metals on to their customers.

Sadly, it wasn't possible for most manufacturers to simply absorb this enormous "tax" on the products they created. You saw that earlier when we pointed out that the tariffs essentially cost the manufacturing sector 75,000 jobs.

As a consumer, the result is that you'll have seen prices fluctuating wildly on any products that used steel, iron, or aluminum over the last few years. Manu manufacturers - especially those that make bespoke or customized products using iron and steel - were forced to adapt based on the effects the tariffs were having at the time.

The result is simple:

Trump's tariffs dealt heavy blows to thousands of American businesses and millions of American consumers.

Things Have Gotten a Little Better Under Biden

Biden relieving the tariffs on steel and aluminum from the E.U. improved the situation somewhat. Granted, that relief doesn't amount to free trade, as there are still quotas in place to prevent overproduction. Still, manufacturers in the U.S. at least have a few more options in terms of where they buy their steel, which means prices are starting to come back down.

But the picture isn't perfect.

The tariffs on Chinese goods - including steel and iron - are still in place, meaning manufacturers are cut off from what used to be their cheapest source of these metals. However, that situation may be changing soon. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. and the EU are working together on a new form of tariff that would seek to prevent overproduction in China.


The idea is similar to America's approach to Europe. Quotes will be in place, with tariffs used when production exceeds those quotas. But - assuming the ideas are put into practice - it will at least give manufacturers some access to cheaper Chinese steel, iron, and aluminum.

That is, assuming Trump doesn't get a second term, in which case all bets are off - he may reinstitute the tariffs that Biden has undone, perhaps even strengthening them!

Beverly Thermally Broken - Double Full Arch | Special Order - PINKYS

Your Door Options - How to Get Great Iron and Steel Doors at Low Prices

It's been a tumultuous time for anybody who works with iron or steel, including PINKYS. However, we've worked hard to keep our exceptional quality standards up while keeping our prices as reasonable as possible in the wake of Trump's tariffs.

If you're here, that means you're considering buying an iron or steel door. We have several recommendations.

Wrought Iron Exterior Doors

There's something so enchanting about wrought iron doors as they harken to a bygone era of classical architecture and intricate design. With PINKYS and our Air range of iron exterior doors, you get a little slice of that old-school style with a healthy dose of modernity, allowing you to create a home entrance that's suitable for almost any architectural approach.

Prefer something a little more classical?

Try the Beverly Double Flat, as its intricate iron scrollwork - which adorns the windows - brings a little more of the classic wrought iron door look to your home.

Also, a quick tip for anybody who invests in an iron door from PINKYS - check out our Iron Door Spray. Not only does it make your doors easier to clean, but it comes loaded with UV and rust inhibitors so you can keep your door in great condition - avoiding a potentially pricey replacement - for longer.

Gorgeous Steel Doors

If steel is more your speed, most of the Air range is available in steel variants. You still get the gorgeous modern design you see with our Air iron doors - including sleek black lines and large glass panes - but you also get a material that's a little more resistant to the elements.

Those who prefer solid steel will also love our Getty design. Available in single and double flat versions, they come with the choice between a 4x4 or 6x6 window grid pattern, dependent on the size of the door you buy.

Shop with PINKYS - Your Choice for Stunning Steel and Iron Doors

After receiving all of this information about the impact of tariffs on the iron and steel sectors, there's likely only one more question in your mind:

Why choose PINKYS?

  • Energy Efficiency - Our steel door and window systems are all tested - and certified - by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). A voluntary program that certifies all products based on their energy efficiency, NFRC testing shows you that we've built steel doors and windows that are made to keep your energy bills down.
  • Built for Architectural Consistency - PINKYS doors are inspired by the stunning California landscape, but we also build with your home in mind. Our design philosophy is simple - complement architecture rather than clash against it. In other words, our steel and iron doors align perfectly with your home's style, both interior and exterior.
  • Absorbing Tariffs - From the moment that Trump announced his tariffs, PINKYS knew that they would impact how we deliver our gorgeous doors to customers. That's why we've taken steps - from manufacturing down to service - to minimize that impact so you're not stuck facing a massive bill when you shop with PINKYS.

So, are you ready to buy your new doors?

You can check out our designs - including our signature Air range - in our online store. But if you prefer a more personal touch, you can also book an appointment to visit the PINKYS showroom. Call (844) 843-6677 or email us at to book your 45 minutes in iron and steel door heaven!

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