In Visit to Poplar Bluff Nail Manufacturer, McCaskill Calls for End to Trade War that Harms Missouri Workers

Senator calls for an end to tariffs and trade actions that harm Missouri workers and businesses in visit to Mid Continent Nail Corp.

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today toured Mid Continent Nail Corporation, the largest U.S. producer of steel nails, to talk with employees about the effects steel and aluminum tariffs are having on Missouri’s economy. At a recent Senate Finance hearing with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, McCaskill highlighted the drastic impact steel and aluminum tariffs are having on Missouri businesses, including Mid Continent, which has seen severe losses that have led to layoffs and fear of closure.

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“It’s time to end this reckless trade war that has put so many Missourians’ livelihoods at stake—we’ve already seen 60 jobs lost here in Poplar Bluff, and without any action by the Administration, we’ll lose hundreds more,” McCaskill said. “This is a trade war that’s damaging important alliances around the globe, harming so many downstream jobs across the country, and threatening the workers I visited with today, when we should instead be focusing our resources on going after cheating by China in a surgical manner, rather than the current sledgehammer approach.”

Mid Continent was forced to reduce its workforce by more than 10 percent earlier this month because of soaring costs and canceled sales resulting from tariffs that the Administration placed on the wire that the company uses to produce nails. In March, the Trump Administration announced 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum.

“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 the recent 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.”

McCaskill has been a strong advocate on behalf of Missouri businesses and workers. As product-based exemptions from steel and aluminum tariffs are stuck in a backlog and country-based exemptions from the largest suppliers of steel and aluminum imports received only temporary extensions, McCaskill advocated on behalf of Missouri small businesses facing large financial burdens from the tariffs by calling on Secretary Ross and the Administration to help small businesses navigate the tariff exemption process to give them much-needed certainty and transparency. McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate’s leading oversight committee, also joined Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin to demand details from the Department of Commerce on why it decided to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports that could harm Missouri businesses.

Visit to learn more about McCaskill’s fight to boost job opportunities in Missouri.