McCaskill Stands Up for Missouri Small Businesses Facing Increased Costs from Steel & Aluminum Tariffs

Following up on recent hearing in which she cited Joplin-based manufacturer, Senator calls for Administration to do more to help Missouri small businesses

WASHINGTON – 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 set to expire yesterday received only short term extensions, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is standing up for Missouri small businesses facing large financial burdens from the tariffs by calling on the Administration to help small businesses navigate the tariff exemption process to give them much-needed certainty and transparency.

“I place my orders six to seven months in advance, even from domestic suppliers, so switching steel mills at a moment’s notice just doesn’t work for me, and as a result I’ve had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in tariffs in April for an order I made in October,” said Greg Scheurich, President of CNC Machine Products in Joplin. “I appreciate Senator McCaskill standing up for my business and all the other small businesses in Missouri trying to make sense of all this, and hope the folks in Washington listen to what she’s saying.”

“While I fully support making sure our trade partners are playing by the rules—the Administration’s actions in imposing broad and wide-ranging tariffs on steel and aluminum was like using a sledgehammer for something that requires a scalpel,” McCaskill said. “And now as a result, small businesses like Mr. Scheurich’s are left trying to pick up the pieces, shouldering thousands and thousands of dollars in extra costs without any of the certainty that business owners need.”

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on behalf of Missouri small businesses, McCaskill wrote: “The Department of Commerce has failed Missouri’s small businesses, which depend on certainty and stability in the market. … Missouri manufactures seeking product-specific exemptions from these tariffs instead face a bureaucracy that is both opaque and expansive to navigate.”

McCaskill recently raised the alarm over threats to Missouri and manufacturers from new high tariffs on steel and aluminum at a Senate Finance hearing with the Trump Administration’s trade chief, citing CNC Machine Products, saying, “Some of this issue is about businesses that are relying on specialized steel imports. It’s not a matter of price, it’s a matter of availability. I’ve got a small company in Joplin that relies on Japanese specialized steel to make the bearings—and it’s not available in the United States.”

McCaskill has been a strong advocate on behalf of Missouri workers. Last year, McCaskill raised this issue with Mr. Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that using national security trade laws to impose strict tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum would harm Missouri companies. McCaskill is fighting to provide Missourians a voice in the renegotiation of NAFTA, the nation’s largest trade agreement, with a plan that would force the U.S. Trade Representative to create an online public comment portal that is easily accessible and readily available to the public, to ensure that Missourians can provide their input on the trade renegotiations.

Full text of letter HERE.

Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/jobs to learn more about McCaskill’s fight to expand Missouri jobs.

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