Senator: Tariffs impact Poplar Bluff, MO nail manufacturer

Published: Jun. 20, 2018 at 6:24 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2018 at 2:30 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON (KFVS) - Sen. Claire McCaskill said at a hearing on Wednesday, June 20 that steel and aluminum tariffs are having an impact on a Poplar Bluff, Missouri business.

According to the senator's office, Mid Continent Nail Corporation has seen severe losses that have led to layoffs and fear of closure.

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The hearing was with Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross.

McCaskill released this statement:

"It appears to me that in a chaotic and frankly incompetent manner, you're picking winners and losers on very technical bases according to all the reporting we have, without a great deal of training, and the regulatory burden is so extreme on small businesses," McCaskill said to Secretary Ross at today's hearing. "… The majority of nails that are manufactured in this country come from a company called Mid Continent Nail Corporation in Poplar Bluff, Missouri…So far, in response to the tariff, they have lost almost half of their business in one month due to price…So they've now laid off 60 of their 500 employees, they've idled their most sophisticated production facility in Poplar Bluff, and they are expected to cut 200 more jobs by the end of July, and the company that has visited with us at length believes they'll be out of business by Labor Day."

"Mid Continent, here in southeastern Missouri, is the last major U.S. nail manufacturer, but the 25 percent tariff on the wire we use to make our nails is pricing us out of the market," said George Skarich, Mid Continent's Executive Vice President for Sales. "Cheap nail imports from China and other countries don't face this tariff and are increasing every day. We need our wire to be excluded from this tariff or we will have to increase the layoffs we've already begun. Mid Continent's existence is threatened.  As Senator McCaskill has helpfully pointed out time and time again, it makes no sense to use tariffs that help China and hurt American workers.  Wasn't the goal of these tariffs to Make America Great Again by bringing back good paying manufacturing jobs?"

In the letter to he Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), McCaskill and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson cited news reports that the recently announced tariffs could be detrimental to American economic growth.

"Since March 2018, the Committee has sought specific data and information about the development and justification for the steel and aluminum tariffs," the senators wrote. "To better understand the potential consequences of the Administration's trade policies, we respectfully request that you produce the CEA economic analysis relating to the Administration's steel and aluminum tariffs."

President Trump's administration announced 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum in March 2018.

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