Mid Continent Steel & Wire receives steel tariff exemption

Mid Continent Steel & Wire receives steel tariff exemption
Mid Continent Steel & Wire says they have been granted exemptions from President Trump's steel tariffs. (Source: Nathan Ellgren, KFVS)

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Mid Continent Steel & Wire said they have received answers to a question they have been waiting on for more than nine months.

On Wednesday, April 3, the maker of Magnum Nails in Poplar Bluff learned from the U.S. Department of Commerce that Mid Continent has been approved for exclusions from Section 232 tariffs.

Mid Continent says now that their request has been granted the company can “ramp up production levels” and get back on track towards their growth path “before the tariffs went into effect."

But, it will only last 12 months before they have to submit more requests. There was a 25 percent tax on their raw steel.

After President Trump’s steel tariffs took effect June 1, 2018, Mid Continent Steel & Wire reports they lost close to 200 employees and more than 70 percent of its sales.

The nail company applied for tariff exclusions during the fall, but had wait for the U.S. Department of Commerce to make a final decision.

“This is a great day for our workers, our customers, for Southeast Missouri, and for U.S. manufacturing. We knew from the start that we qualified for the exclusions. Now, we can focus on making Magnum, the best nails in the world, here in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.”
Chris Pratt, Mid Continent Operations General Manager

According to Mid Continent exemptions from Section 232 tariffs are rarely approved.

The company’s lawyer says they provided hard evidence that domestic steel companies would not be able to supply the large nail factory with enough steel wire each month.

“We’re just very excited to be back in a position where the company is going to start building back up as it gains more sales and it’s going to be able to get back to hiring and growing," said Adam Gordon, Mid-Continent’s Trade lawyer.

From here Mid-Continent plans to slowly increase production, grow their workforce and reach out to former customers who started buying foreign nails.

The City Manager for Poplar Bluff says the surrounding area relies on industrial jobs and thinks this outcome is a great step in the right direction for the local economy.

“Of course Mid Continent nail being the largest (U.S.) nail manufacture that is quite a deal for Poplar Bluff and they provide a lot of good paying jobs. This should open those doors at for hopefully more jobs and more opportunities for a lot of people," said Mark Massignham, City Manager of Poplar Bluff. “I hope forever that they get to stay here because my kids are going to be growing up and they are going to want to be going to work and they are going to need a place to go to too.”

Two years ago Ken Murphy worked at Mid-Continent Steel and Wire.

“I think they should be able to grow again because it was a very good company to work for," said Ken Murphy. “We could have lost everybody and no other jobs here."

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt is pleased with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision in granting the tariff exclusions to Mid Continent.

This announcement is great news for Southeast Missouri. Mid-Continent now has the opportunity to bring much-needed jobs back to the area and continue on the path to stronger growth in the future. I thank Secretary Ross for reaching the right decision for Mid-Continent and all of its hardworking employees.”
Sen. Roy Blunt, (R) Missouri

Sen. Blunt said he spoke with the Pres. Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday, March 13, about the steel and aluminum tariffs during a White House meeting on trade.

Sen. Blunt serves as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

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