Following St. Louis Roundtable, McCaskill Shares Concerns from Missouri Manufacturing and Agriculture Leaders on Trade War with Secretary of Commerce

WASHINGTON – Following a roundtable discussion in St. Louis where Missouri manufacturers and agriculture leaders spoke about the harmful effects of the Administration’s trade policies, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today relayed their concerns to the Department of Commerce. The field roundtable was held by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as part of its ongoing, bipartisan oversight of the tariffs and moderated by McCaskill, the panel’s top Democrat.

“The testimony of every single one of the roundtable participants was clear as day—Missouri businesses are hurting from these reckless and chaotic trade policies,” McCaskill said. “We’re already losing jobs in Missouri, and I’m worried we’ll lose more if we don’t reverse course.”

Citing statements from the participants of her August roundtable, McCaskill described how the Administration’s trade policies were impacting Missouri’s economy in a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. McCaskill emphasized how the tariffs lead to job loss, increased prices, and advantages for foreign competitors. She also expressed concern with the broken exclusion process for Missouri manufacturers, and highlighted the challenges for Missouri farmers trying to plan in an uncertain business environment.

“The bottom line is that the trade war is harming Missouri’s businesses and these harms could be lasting,” McCaskill wrote in the letter. “For those companies seeking relief through the exclusion process, the opaque and slow decision-making process is resulting in immediate and lasting economic harm on Missouri businesses, workers, consumers, and communities. … For other businesses, their entire industry is suffering economic setbacks after decades of investment and hard work in building overseas supply chains and markets.”

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where McCaskill serves as the top Democrat, has conducted ongoing, bipartisan oversight of the Administration’s trade policies. In addition to the St. Louis roundtable, McCaskill joined Republican Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in May 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. In June, the two Senators also sent a bipartisan letter to the White House Council of Economic Advisers asking for details on its economic analysis that the Administration’s tariffs could be detrimental to economic growth. Last month, the Senators sent a set of bipartisan letters to investigate the tariff exclusion process.

McCaskill has been a strong advocate on behalf of Missouri businesses and workers—and in June toured Mid Continent Nail Corporation, the largest U.S. producer of steel nails, which was forced to reduce its workforce by more than 30 percent and may be forced to close its Poplar Bluff operations while it waits for the Department of Commerce to decide on a tariff exclusion request because of soaring costs and canceled sales resulting from the tariffs that the Administration placed on the wire that the company uses to produce nails. She has called on the Administration to end the trade war, and is working across the aisle to bring greater Congressional oversight to tariff decisions.

Read McCaskill’s letter to the Department of Commerce HERE.