Bozeman contractors, building industry could feel impact of global trade tensions

Posted at 2:40 PM, May 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 18:08:54-04

BOZEMAN – Trade tensions between the US and China could have a ripple effect in Bozeman.

President Trump raised trade tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent last week — after Washington and China failed to reach a trade deal.

The new tariffs will likely have an effect on house construction costs.

The Southwest Montana Building Industry Association (SWMBIA) says they expect anything that is imported by China, including most appliances, things like nails and hardware and other odds and ends will see a substantial rise in cost, too.

The tariffs are also forcing many contractors across the country to add in escalation clauses for projects set to start in 2020 because it is unknown how high prices might go up.

SWMBIA government affairs coordinator Brian Popiel says this is an issue that contractors locally just have to be ready for.

“We just saw a fairly substantial increase in city impact fees to the tune of $2,500 or $3,000 a house for a 2,000 square-foot starter home,” Popiel says. “It might be in that same ballpark. We are looking at similar increases in Belgrade so we just all have to accommodate those.”

This isn’t the first time the industry has seen import taxes go up.

President Trump signed a similar order in 2018, which increased the costs of imported steel and aluminum.

Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News