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Attorney General Josh Hawley Tours Missouri Nail Manufacturer At Risk Of Closing Because of Tariff Policy


Attorney General Josh Hawley Tours Missouri Nail Manufacturer At Risk Of Closing Because of Tariff Policy

PR Newswire

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo., Aug. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley today toured the Poplar Bluff factory of Mid Continent Steel & Wire, Inc., the largest U.S. producer of steel nails, the company announced.

Hawley secured the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in the August 7 primaries.

Mid Continent has been the focus of attention lately after the company was forced to begin reducing its workforce because of soaring costs and canceled sales resulting from Section 232 tariffs. The 25% tariffs, which took effect June 1, have raised the price of the raw materials U.S. companies like Mid Continent use to produce nails.

By contrast, Mid Continent's competitors in such countries as China, Taiwan, Turkey and India do not face these increased costs, and their nail exports to the U.S. are not covered by Section 232 tariffs.

Mid Continent now employs fewer than 340 workers, down from about 500 before the tariffs took effect. Temporary workers have been let go and some permanent workers have left for other jobs and have not been replaced.  

"Our company is in trouble, but a solution exists," said George Skarich, Mid Continent's Executive Vice President for Sales. "When President Trump announced that he would impose Section 232 tariffs, he recognized the need for certain exclusions and put a process in place that would minimize undue impact on downstream American industries like ours."

Skarich added, "I've got to believe our situation is the very definition of 'undue impact' the president was preparing for. All of our workers and the families they are supporting -- we all continue to hope that the President will use that relief valve for us and grant the exclusions we've applied for so that we can save our company and these jobs."

Mid Continent filed 24 applications to exclude the steel wire used to manufacture its nails from the Section 232 tariffs on June 18. Unless the exclusions are granted soon, the company may have to eliminate as many as 200 more jobs and could even shut down. Mid Continent is committed to doing whatever can be done to protect its workers, but the pressure these tariffs have imposed may force some very difficult decisions.

Attorney General Hawley has publicly supported the company's exclusion applications and, through a spokesperson, told the Washington Post that Mid Continent "makes a good case for an exemption and we have spoken to the White House about it." On a Fox News broadcast on July 26 about Mid Continent, Hawley called it a "strong case."

"Mid Continent's existence is threatened," Skarich said. "It is absolutely critical that our exclusions are granted – and the sooner, the better."

Press Contact 
Elizabeth Heaton 
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SOURCE Mid Continent Steel & Wire, Inc.

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