Photo credit: magnumfasteners.com
Mid-Continent Nail Corporation manufactures a variety of nails including paper tape nails and industrial pallet nails. The firm has been operating in Missouri for over 30 years. The company’s website says its mission is “to be located in the heart of the USA, reflecting and living the values that make this country great such as hard work, respect, optimism, a can-do attitude, and an indomitable spirit.”
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has allowed the company to access the intermediate inputs at globally competitive prices, including steel from Mexico. The lower input costs enabled the company to hire skilled American workers and maintain a presence in Missouri to offer quick delivery to American consumers.
The imposition of 25 percent steel tariff raised the firm’s production costs, which they had to reflect in the price of their nails. A box of 50 nails that previously cost $27 per box now costs $32.50, turning customers off. Lower sales from the tariffs have created major setbacks for the company. In June, the company had to let go of 60 employees. More employees have decided to pursue other jobs rather than face the risk of layoffs. Company officials predict that the firm will eventually go out of business completely or relocate to Mexico.
Chris Pratt, the general manager, told National Public Radio (NPR), “I’m fighting for our 500 jobs and myself.” The firm has been filing requests for tariff exemptions for the steel it imports. On June 18, the firm submitted 24 separate exclusion requests for a total of 94,105,825 kilograms of steel.
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Christine McDaniel a former senior economist with the White House Council of Economic Advisers and deputy assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy, is a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.