July 20, 2018
U.S Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) met with 15 Wisconsin companies, including NAFEM members Hatco, represented by Dave Rolston, CFSP, president/CEO, and Vollrath, represented by Steve Heun, CFO, to learn more about the impact on their businesses of the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs and Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports.
The Milwaukee Business Journal reported the senator opened the session, on July 16, by declaring that the US is in a “trade war” then opening the floor to the business leaders from the state’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Steve used the opportunity to explain how the aluminum tariffs have increased material costs and “flushed a 40-year relationship” with his company’s supplier.
Following the meeting, Senator Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, sent a detailed letter to President Trump to summarize the discussion and urge him to “return certainty and stability to global markets.” The senator also sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross raising concerns about the Administration’s metal tariffs, which were implemented as a national security precaution. “The tariffs on steel and aluminum risk undermining these positive economic developments by increasing input costs to American manufacturing and steel-dependent industries employing more than 17 million workers,” the senator wrote. “Higher input costs will increase the cost of products to American consumers and make American products less competitive globally, thereby jeopardizing the United States’ export industries and costing American jobs.”
NAFEM continues to follow up with Senator Johnson’s staff to illustrate the challenges to the foodservice equipment and supplies industry.