Spirit, lawmakers react to new tariffs

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Kansas Lawmakers visited Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the country. It's still unclear how President Trump's new tariffs will impact businesses. 

Spirit CEO Tom Gentile says the increased tariffs on aluminum and steel could impact its business significantly by increasing the cost for those raw products needed for production. 

A"s you can see we are big user of aluminum, the 737 fuselage is the biggest piece of equipment that we make at Boeing is aluminum, so we rely on a lot of aluminum so that's something we want to watch very carefully," Gentile said.

President Trump says the increase is necessary to protect U.S. industries "ravaged" by aggressive foreign trade practices, but even members of his own party including Kansas lawmakers are worried.  

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says it could hurt other manufacturers and farmers in the state.

"Our state depends upon our ability to export," he said. "The concern is certainly two-fold. One, tariffs increase the price and make us less competitive in the United States.

The fears is the increased tariffs could lead other nations to retaliate by increasing tariffs and import fees on products they buy from the U.S. 

Congressman Ron Estes said, "Obviously, there is a cost impact on U.S. consumers and companies. We want to make sure that the right things get done and we don't need to get in a trade war."

The new tariffs will take effect in about 15 days. While some lawmakers are fighting the tariffs, companies like Spirit are taking a wait-and-see attitude. 

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