Washington • The White House soon could keep its valuables in safes made by a Utah-based company.
At least that’s the hope of Steve Allred, president and CEO of Payson’s Liberty Safe, who displayed his company’s premier safe at the presidential mansion Monday as part of a showcase of American-made products.
A couple White House officials swung by to ask for his help, Allred said.
“They took my card and said they want to update all of their safes,” he said. “I said, 'I think we can help you out there.' ... I'd love to have our products in the White House.”
President Donald Trump hosted companies from all 50 states at the White House to tout American manufacturing and efforts to bring back jobs from companies that have pushed their operations overseas.
The showcase included wares from across the nation, from shows and clothing, to baseball bats and jerky. The capsule from the Apollo 11 moon landing and an F-35 fighter jet were also on display on the South Lawn.
Liberty Safe, which made about half its safes in China until 2009, now builds its products in Utah, and Allred says they make up nearly 80 percent of domestic-made safes. The company spent more than $30 million to outfit new production lines to make their products in Utah.
“For this focus to be back on the [mainland] U.S. — everybody says it but I’m really starting to feel it,” Allred said. “It’s really critical.”
Allred says his company employs 400 people in Utah and possibly thousands more nationwide in retailing its products.
“It's great that we're representing U.S.-made products,” said Justin Buck, vice president of sales and marketing at Liberty Safe. “I think it's important to have a country that builds things, not just imports things.”
The White House used the event to highlight tax cuts passed by the GOP-led Congress that Trump had pushed for, as well as the low unemployment rate and booming economy. And the president said his latest efforts to hike tariffs was helping.
“For decades, the United States allowed other countries to steal our jobs, close our factories, and plunder our wealth. What was happening was horrible,” Trump said in remarks to the businesses promoting their goods. “Our leaders in Washington did nothing. They let our factories leave, they let our people lose their jobs to workers in faraway lands. That’s not free trade. That’s fools’ trade. That’s stupid trade. And we don’t do that kind of trade anymore.”
Many economists and members of Congress argue that the tariffs actually are backfiring and could cause the economy to stall.
Trump also pitched his efforts to hike tariffs on some imported goods, saying that it will boost American manufacturing.
“Our steel industry is coming back, at a level nobody thought possible,” Trump said. “We were being dumped on.”
Buck said that Trump’s trade war is affecting business, especially the tariffs on imported steel. But he added that he believes overall, U.S. companies will be doing better in the end when everyone is on a more level playing field. The Trump administration is considering upping tariffs on imported safes, for example, Buck said.
“I think it’ll be somewhat comparable in the competitive landscape,” Buck said.