This week, Mid Continent Nail Company in Poplar Bluff announced that the President’s tariffs could soon force them to close. While Senator Claire McCaskill demanded answers on the harmful impact of the President’s tariffs during a hearing with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross this week, Josh Hawley continues to stand by the President’s trade war.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch business columnist David Nicklaus this morning also emphasized the impact of Trump’s tariffs on a wide range of Missouri industries, writing unequivocally that “Trump’s tariffs are destroying Missouri jobs.”
“What does Josh Hawley have to say to the Missourians who have already seen their livelihoods disappear because of the President’s tariffs — and the thousands more who may soon be out a job?” asked Missouri Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Brooke Goren. “If Hawley won’t stand up to the President’s harmful policies now, how can Missourians expect him to be a voice for them in the Senate?”
President Donald Trump’s trade war is starting to affect livelihoods in the heartland.
In Poplar Bluff, Mo., Mid Continent Nail has laid off 60 workers and expects to cut more if it doesn’t get relief from Trump’s steel tariffs.
Midwestern farmers, meanwhile, are reeling from tariffs that China announced last week on $50 billion worth of U.S. products, including soybeans, pork and chicken. July futures prices for soybeans, Missouri’s most important crop, have fallen almost 15 percent in the last two months.
“We don’t want a trade war,” said Gary Wheeler, executive director of the Missouri Soybean Association. “That’s the worst-case scenario for us and for China.”
For now, however, a trade war appears to be exactly where the U.S. and its major trading partners are headed. The European Union, Canada and Mexico have announced retaliatory measures in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. They have targeted a broad range of products including whiskey, pork and motorcycles.
…When China announced its retaliatory measures last week, it seemed to be trying to cause as much pain as possible in pro-Trump farming states.
…Brookings estimates that 1.4 percent of Missouri workers, or about 40,000 people, work in industries that will be affected by the Chinese tariffs. In McDonald County in the state’s southwestern corner, home to two poultry plants, 37 percent of workers are employed in targeted industries.
Even before other nations’ countermeasures take effect, Trump’s tariffs are destroying Missouri jobs.
Mid Continent Nail, which employed 500 people in Poplar Bluff until recently, imports steel wire from Mexico. Its orders have dropped by half since Trump applied his 25 percent steel tariff on June 1.
…Mid Continent has been forced to raise its nail prices 19 percent, which may make domestic nail manufacturing uncompetitive.