Housewares industry unsure of future impact from steel, aluminum tariffs

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President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum caused uncertainty at the International Housewares Show this week. (WLS)

The International Housewares Show is in Chicago this week.

A major topic of conversation among attendees was steel and aluminum - and what President Donald Trump's planned tariffs will mean for the housewares industry.

Experts at the convention said the tariffs will have a big impact on consumers' wallets. Aluminum and steel are used in everything from cutlery to pots and pans.

The convention is not open to the general public, but with 60,000 attendees, it is the larges housewares show in the world.

Tariffs on raw steel and aluminum will directly impact some of the companies represented at the show. For others, the impact will be more indirect, but all will notice it.

Rob Harris, CEO of the company that owns the Alladin and Stanley brands, said his company does a lot of overseas sales.

"Any type of trade war.. hurts us as an American company," Harris said.

Trump said he is trying to even the economic playing field and bring more American jobs to the steel industry.

"I look at it the other way," said Lifetime Brands CEO Jeff Siegel. "If it's gonna employ more Americans who can buy more of our products, it's a good thing."

Several executives said it's still unclear what impact the tariffs will have - and that uncertainty may be the biggest problem they currently face.
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