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Trade uncertainty over tariffs could hit Port of Milwaukee

Posted at 5:52 PM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 18:52:00-04

According to an analysis by the Associated Press, trade uncertainty stemming from tariffs the U.S. and its global trading partners are slapping onto each other's products could impact cities around the country - including Milwaukee. 

The AP said, "An Associated Press analysis found that as much as 20 percent of import traffic at some of the nation's ports could be affected by the ongoing trade war if all the tariffs are implemented." 

"More than 250 shipping, air and ground ports in 48 states will see some of their import traffic affected by the tariffs," the analysis said. 

The AP's analysis also found that customs districts based in cities around the U.S., including Milwaukee, "will see at least 10 percent of their total import value affected if all the tariffs are enacted." 

At the Port of Milwaukee, Port Director Adam Schlicht said he's not ready to predict a drop off in imports yet. 

"I'm cautiously optimistic," he said. "But we're in wait-and-see mode right now." 

He said the Port of Milwaukee generates about $100 million annually in business and economic activity for Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin. 

Schlicht noted some of the profits from the Port of Milwaukee, which are generated through rentals and docking fees, are funneled into the city's general fund. He worries a drop-off in shipments could impact that going forward. 

"Last year, I believe the Port gave back $700,000 or $800,000 to the city's general fund," Schlicht said.