Tariffs | St. Louis Public Radio

Tariffs

St. Louis-based Hoy Shoe Company manufactures 97% of its sandals in China. If new tariffs go into effect, President Scott Downs says the company would have no choice but to raise prices.
Helen | Flickr

President Donald Trump’s proposed 25% tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods will have a big impact on the footwear industry, which relies on the country for a majority of its products.

Such tariffs would hit home in St. Louis, where shoe manufacturing and sales have a long history. Caleres, formerly Brown Shoe Company, is based in Clayton, and many smaller independent companies call the region home.

The U.S. trade war with China has created a financial burden for farmers and companies that import Chinese goods. Consumers, on the other hand, have mostly been spared from the conflict.

That could all change if this month’s negotiations between the U.S. and China don’t go well.

Pat Westhoff (at left), director of the University of Missouri's Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, and Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, joined Monday's program.
Pat Westhoff & Missouri Farm Bureau

Recent trade disputes between the Trump administration and China have had a heavy impact on farmers in Missouri, where the soybean industry dwarfs other crops in terms of acreage and production value.

“[China accounts] for something like 60 percent of total U.S. soybean sales in a typical year,” Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air. “So losing a chunk of that market’s a very big deal.”

Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, told host Don Marsh that he and fellow farmers have been directly experiencing the fiscal consequences this year, including a 20 percent drop in soybean prices.

STL Fashion startups face tariffs on Chinese imports
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

The burgeoning St. Louis fashion industry is bracing for the impact of the latest tariffs on goods from China.

Handbags, backpacks, luggage, hats and baseball gloves are just a few of the thousands of products covered in the latest round of U.S. tariffs imposed on goods imported from China. The 10 percent tax went into effect Sept. 24 and it will increase to 25 percent on Jan. 1.

Experts say consumers should expect to see higher prices before the end of the year.

Attendees listen as President Donald Trump speaks at a Granite City Works warehouse. July 26, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann round up some of the week’s biggest developments in the 2018 elections.

One of the topics Rosenbaum and Lippmann take a look at this week is President Donald Trump’s aluminum and steel tariffs — and how they may affect Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks to a group of people representing Missouri manufacturing and agircultural interests on Aug. 27, 2018.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill continued her criticism of President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, which she says could do lasting economic damage to Missouri’s agriculture and manufacturing economies.

At a meeting Monday in St. Louis, the Democratic senator heard from companies and agricultural-commodity groups affected by the tariffs as Trump announced a trade deal with Mexico.

Provided | VICE on HBO

A documentary from the HBO series "Vice" features two Missouri plants that have been affected by President Donald Trump’s trade policies and tariffs.

For one plant, the tariffs have been a lifeline; for the other, it’s driving a nail into the business. “Trump’s Trade War” explores the reality in both those plants and others across the U.S.

U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers his remarks to a crowd of invited guests in St. Charles, Missouri on November 29, 2017.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump will portray the newly reopened steel plant in Granite City as evidence of the benefits of his trade tariffs during Thursday’s visit to the region.

Aides told reporters during a conference call today that Trump will defend his tariffs during his afternoon speech at a warehouse on the grounds of Granite City Works.

close up of nail heads
Flickr | Ed Ivanushkin

Mid Continent Steel and Wire, a nail manufacturer in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, has been at the center of a media blitz after its plight was publicized by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in front of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a Senate committee hearing last week.

Since the hearing, Mid Continent, alongside household names like Harley-Davidson, Inc., has been declared a likely casualty of the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policies — specifically steel tariffs.

The company, which manufactures 50 percent of the nails made in the United States, laid off 60 of its 500 employees and shuttered a production plant last week.

The Missouri Farm Bureau says roughly 60 percent of the soybeans grown in the state are sent to China.
The United Soybean Board | Flickr

Denny Mertz lost $12,000 on his soybeans last week when China proposed tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.

The Chesterfield resident grows soybeans and corn on his 500-acre farm in Elsberry. He said he'll be able to weather the loss, as he owns his land and doesn't have much overhead. Yet Mertz worries that younger farmers could take a significant hit if China and the U.S. don't settle their trade differences, especially because many don't own their land.

"They do not have a lot of equity built up and there's not much reserves to fall back on," he said.

Dan Simmons of United Steelworkers Local 1899 discussed what led to the announcement that U.S. Steel will be rehiring as many as 500 Illinois workers – and what’s next for the plant.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Ecstatic – that’s the word that Dan Simmons used to describe the mood in Granite City, Illinois, this week.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, the United Steelworkers Local 1899 president joined host Don Marsh to discuss the news that up to 500 workers will return to work at the steel mill around which the town was built.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Die-casting companies in Missouri had mixed views on whether a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission to end one antidumping tariff but continue another on imported magnesium would help their businesses.

In a vote Thursday in Washington, the commission retained the antidumping duties on magnesium imports from China after determining that revoking the tariffs would likely "lead to continuation or recurrence of material injury" to the sole U.S. magnesium producer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 3, 2011 - WASHINGTON - It may be a relatively light metal, but magnesium has suddenly become a heavyweight issue at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The ITC's vote next week on whether to continue "antidumping" duties against imports of the metal could have a major impact on die-casting companies in Missouri and Illinois that use magnesium -- and the more than 2,000 workers they employ.