Walorski Shares Feedback From Hoosier Businesses Impacted by Tariffs at Ways and Means Hearing

Last week, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) shared feedback from Hoosier businesses affected by steel and aluminum tariffs at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the impact of tariffs on the U.S. economy and jobs.

“Historic tax cuts and regulatory reforms have revived America’s economy, but I am constantly hearing from businesses in northern Indiana that steel and aluminum tariffs are driving up costs and making it more difficult for them to grow and create jobs,” Walorski said after the hearing.

“The administration has taken steps to narrow these tariffs to better target unfair trade, but more must be done to protect businesses and jobs here at home. I will continue listening to Hoosier manufacturers, farmers and workers, and making sure their voices are heard so we can keep our economic momentum going.”

Video of Walorski sharing local businesses’ feedback at the hearing:

She read the following quotes from Hoosier job creators in a wide range of industries:

• (We’ve seen) a 50% increase (in the price of steel), mostly since the tariffs were announced. Additionally, there is a shortage of steel. We are furloughing the production line in (one facility) today and will probably have to furlough some of the guys in (our main facility) later in the week due to lack of availability of material. We have raised prices to our customers but because (our product is) a low margin item – the combination of the increase and the lack of availability is affecting sales.”

• “We cannot switch to a U.S. source, and it would take 1 to 2 years for us to get approval from our customers if there was a U.S. source. We will continue to import steel and will pay the duties. So far we have incurred about $15,000 in tariff costs with a potential of another $240,000 based upon the orders we have already booked with (our) Japanese steel supplier. We are moving forward with our exclusion requests; so far the cost has been close to 100 hours to complete these exemption forms along with some legal costs for review and advice.”

• “We have rolling shortages of steel and we are on allocation (from our supplier in Utah) … Prices had already gone up 25% and 30% respectively (on aluminum and steel) because of speculation. Now we are seeing a trend past 30-35% each. Of course, I am livid.”

• “We observed steel prices starting to move up in early 2017 on just the talk of potential steel tariffs and a sharp escalation in steel prices in the last 3 months as the tariffs started to become a reality. This has resulted in a 15% to 29% increase in the cost of our steel. To put this in perspective, our increase in steel cost is larger than the entire cost of providing health insurance to our workforce.”

• “We are the sole manufacturer left in the United States that manufactures this type of product. Our competitors import all or most of their finished product from either Mexico, China, Vietnam, etc., therefore avoiding any impact of this tariff…The bottom line is this, if you raise our steel and aluminum prices, our prices will have to increase in order to cover the cost. Our foreign competitors will not be affected. … We currently purchase all our steel and aluminum from domestic sources.”

• “We are in the process of trying to build a 147,000-square-foot warehouse. (The company building the warehouse) gets their steel from Canada, a country exempted from the steel tariff. However, we are unable to get a firm quote even out of Canada, because prices are beginning to rise there with so much demand shifted to Canada. It is not on hold – we have to build it – so we are at the mercy of a volatile market.”

• “When purchasing raw materials, we give preference to domestic steel mills wherever possible. We enjoy long, outstanding relationships with many domestic mills. We want them to thrive. … The actual dynamics of the entire metalworking market have evolved in the last 40 years. … In some cases, we find that domestic mills cannot meet the quality standards required by our customers; or they cannot meet the quality standards at a competitive cost. In those cases, we will buy foreign material. … Why put a tariff on these items?”

Legislation Favorable to Drug, Medical Device Manufacturers Passes Senate, Heads to President

Legislation which passed the Senate Thursday ensures that drug and medical devices can move to the market quicker. Manufacturers of these products would pay higher user fees and the revenue raised would help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review the items in a more expedited process. The law governing this process was set to expire by September 30, so it was imperative that the Senate act before members left for their August recess.

The legislation passed the Senate 94-1 with both Indiana senators supporting the legislation. The bill was not amended in the Senate and so therefore it now heads to the President for final signature.

The Indiana Chamber advocated for the passage of this bill during the Hoosiers Work for Health summit in July.

The legislation aligns with the Chamber’s legislative policy regarding the FDA: “The FDA has an important responsibility to make sure consumers get expeditious access to safe and effective products. Thus, the Indiana Chamber supports a well-resourced FDA, especially in the area of drugs and medical devices, through appropriated funds and user fees (tied to specific and measurable performance requirements for the FDA).”

Walmart to Host June 28 Open Call in Arkansas for U.S. Manufacturers

Indiana manufacturers and entrepreneurs are invited to attend Walmart’s Open Call for U.S. products on June 28 in Bentonville, Arkansas. It’s an opportunity for businesses across the country to meet one-on-one with Walmart’s buyers to potentially have their products sold in Walmart stores and online.

The event is part of Walmart’s 10-year $250 billion commitment to advancing U.S. manufacturing.

Walmart writes:

Open Call is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and manufacturers large and small in Indiana to meet one-on-one with Walmart’s buyers and potentially have their products sold on Walmart shelves and on Walmart.com. This year, more than 500 entrepreneurs from 48 states will pitch more than 750 American-made products to our buyers giving American entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to potentially reach millions of Walmart customers. From food to toys to apparel, and companies large and small from coast to coast, we want to make a deal for U.S. made products. This year’s event will showcase American entrepreneurship and celebrate ingenuity and diversity. Nearly half of all businesses self-identify as diverse including as women-owned.

Walmart is committed to significantly investing in products that support American jobs through events such as Open Call and by working with local suppliers whenever possible. Manufacturing, sourcing and growing products at home not only supports American jobs, but also drastically reduces shipping costs and is better for the environment. In fact, it has been estimated that 1 million new jobs will be created in the United States as a result of our manufacturing initiative.

To inquire, reach out to Walmart Director of Corporate Affairs Matthew Fitz-Gerald at (202) 434-0719 or matthew.fitzgerald@walmart.com. For media inquiries, contact Scott Markley at (800) 331-0085 or via Walmart’s media site.

Throwback Thursday: Saluting the Manufacturing Mainstays

I ran across an interesting IndustryWeek list recently. Titled "Around for the Long Haul," it included prominent manufacturing firms founded 100 years ago or more. Bet you didn't know these companies have been around this long.

You will find a few Indiana connections, past and present. The partial list:

  • 1665: Saint-Gobain
  • 1760: Lorillard
  • 1802: DuPont & Co.
  • 1806: Colgate-Palmolive
  • 1837: Procter & Gamble
  • 1866: Sherwin-Williams
  • 1872: Kimberly-Clark
  • 1876: Eli Lilly & Co.
  • 1886: Johnson & Johnson
  • 1883: PPG Industries
  • 1894: The Hershey Co.
  • 1898:Goodyear Tire & Rubber
  • 1902: 3M
  • 1903: Harley-Davidson
  • 1903: Ford Motor Co.
  • 1905: Ingersoll-Rand
  • 1906: Xerox
  • 1911: IBM
  • 1911: Whirlpool
     

Why We Endorsed Sen. Lugar Today

We announced our endorsement of six-term incumbent Richard Lugar for the U.S. Senate today. The endorsement was made by the Indiana Chamber Congressional Action Committee, the federal political action committee of the Indiana Chamber.

"Senator Lugar has compiled a most impressive pro-economy, pro-jobs voting record throughout his years of service," said Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. "His focus on helping grow Indiana businesses and putting Hoosiers back to work is exactly what we need in Washington."

Lugar has been a long-time leader on many energy, national security, foreign policy and agricultural issues, among others. His effort to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and make the Keystone XL pipeline a reality – and create jobs in Indiana and throughout the country – is just one current example of his continued leadership.

"In a time when congressional approval levels are at record lows and partisanship is all too common," Brinegar adds, "Sen. Lugar should be applauded for his ability to reach across the aisle and work with members of both parties. We believe Hoosiers strongly benefit from his expertise and experience."

Kharbanda: Manufacturing Opportunities Lie at Intersection of Economy and Environment

Jesse Kharbanda is the Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana’s leading environmental educator and advocate.

In this world of intense global competition, where does Indiana’s industrial future lie? Logistics, biosciences, and clean car technologies have been some of the areas that we’ve seen Indiana industry focus on. Indiana, in our view, has yet to tap into another sector – clean electricity component manufacturing, which produces the goods that make wind turbines briskly spin, solar panels soak in the sun, and air conditioning systems be energy hogs no longer. Indiana is surprisingly well positioned to lead in this sector: According to the Renewable Energy Policy Project, a DC-based think tank, Indiana has the second highest potential in the country to produce such goods.There’s no doubt some such companies, like Brevini Wind near Muncie, are locating to Indiana due to our business-friendly environment as it is.

But how might Indiana fully realize this potential, and actually become the second highest job generator of clean electricity jobs? Ask venture capitalists and commercial clean electricity developers, and they’ll tell you pointedly that Indiana needs a dedicated renewable energy policy: a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), and a robust net metering program. Unfortunately, we’re the only state in the Midwest without the former, and we have the weakest net metering policy in our region. Policies like an RES and strong net metering have a triple dividend: they make Indiana a more hospitable climate for clean electricity manufacturing jobs, they move our electricity sector towards energy sources that are better for our health and environment, and they hedge against regulatory or economic-induced fossil fuel price shocks.

An organization like HEC and a trade group like the Indiana Chamber may not be in complete alignment on the right policy solution, but for the sake of jobs and improved environmental quality, let’s a find a way to work together to make sure that Indiana is a leader in this sector, a sector that will mushroom in the decades to come. HEC’s hand is extended.