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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Tariffs Raise Input Prices for Valley Manufacturers

When it comes to the tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration, Richard Brent is not shy about expressing his opinion. “Tariffs are crazy, and retaliation is nuts,” said Brent, chief executive of Louroe Electronics, a Van Nuys maker of audio surveillance equipment. Small manufacturers in the Valley and throughout the U.S. may agree with Brent’s assessment of the decision by the White House to impose tariffs starting in January on solar panels and washing machines and later steel and aluminum from China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Those countries in turn have placed tariffs on imports from the U.S. China’s tariffs equal about the $34 billion tariff imposed on it by the U.S. For Louroe, the tariffs will increase costs on capacitors, transformers and some circuit boards used in the audio capture equipment the company makes. For example, Brent said, a capacitor that had cost a nickel now will cost 6.5 cents. While not a huge leap, it does add up, Brent said. “We use enough of them that it will have a small impact on the cost of the hardware,” he added. Tom Manzo, president of Timely Prefinished Steel Door Frames in Pacoima, said that the company’s steel costs have risen more than 22 percent this year. The increase is due to the tariffs and a requirement that all steel must be sourced from U.S. companies. Timely has had a long-term relationship with USS POSCO, a joint venture between U.S. Steel and POSCO, in South Korea. “What has led to an increase in steel cost has been the United States did not have the capacity to keep up with the demand and needed to gear up more blast furnaces which takes months to get online,” Manzo wrote in an email to the Business Journal. The next step for Brent is to get letters out to area lawmakers. Louroe is located in the district of Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-Panorama City) while Brent lives in the district represented by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks). He said that a letter outlining specifically what products will be subject to the tariff and asking the congressman what they can do to minimize any impact could be helpful. Although he works in the security industry, Brent said he didn’t think Louroe’s products warranted a special exemption from the tariff. F-35 Supplier Award Crissair Inc. was recognized Aug. 21 with a 2017 Elite Supplier Award from Lockheed Martin Corp. for its work on the F-35 Lightning II military jet. The Santa Clarita aerospace parts manufacturer makes 30 different fluid control components used on the stealth fighter. Company President Mike Alfred said it was an honor to recognize the work of the nearly 200 employees on the world’s most advanced fighter jet. “The men and women who make up this company embody the very values upon which it was built: hard work, dedication and, most importantly, a shared commitment to the success of our clients and customers,” Alfred said in a statement. Invited to attend the ceremony were representatives from Lockheed Martin and Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. Knight took his turn in a F-35 mobile cockpit demonstrator on display by Lockheed at Crissair in Valencia. “The fifth-generation capabilities of the F-35 are essential to our ability to combat 21st century threats,” Knight said in a statement. “I take great pride in having the opportunity to recognize the workers in the 25th Congressional District who are an important part of making it a reality for our Armed forces and our allies.” Fast-Growth Companies Multiple manufacturing and technology companies in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Conejo valleys were included on this year’s Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies. Among those recognized for their growth over a three-year period was Faye Business Systems Group, a Woodland Hills technology consulting and software company. The company made it on the list for a fifth consecutive year. “It’s a great honor to have made the Inc. 5000 list for the fifth year in a row,” said Chief Executive David Faye. “Earning another spot on this amazing list continues to be a real source of pride for us.” Also included on the list were ZPower LLC, a developer of rechargeable silver zinc microbatteries at No. 82; SolaRack in Thousand Oaks, a manufacturer of solar racking equipment at No. 383; information technology services provider JKL Technologies Inc. in Newbury Park, at No. 2186; IT consulting and private cloud hosting firm ISSquared Inc. in Newbury Park, at No. 2991; and Bioluz LED, a Woodland Hills manufacturer of LED lighting products, at No. 3360. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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