The Trump Tariffs and the Memphis Electrolux Disaster

A Wednesday announcement by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of his co-sponsorship of a bill to return control of American tariff policy from the president to Congress ironically highlights the news, a day later, of the Electrolux Corporation’s decision to abandon its Memphis plant. “In general, steel and aluminum tariffs put in place for national security purposes are a big mistake. No state is likely to be more damaged by these tariffs than Tennessee, because in many ways we are the nation’s number one auto state. One third of the manufacturing jobs in Tennessee are auto jobs. We have more than 890 automotive suppliers — almost all of which use aluminum and steel — in 88 of our 95 counties. Just last year, the largest employer in Springfield, Tennessee — Electrolux, which makes home appliances — put a $250 million expansion on hold. Electrolux buys all of its steel from U.S. suppliers, but, of course, when you raise the price on imported steel, the price of U.S. steel also goes up, and Electrolux concluded that it could not be competitive in the U.S. market with these higher prices.” Memphis Flyer

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Author: Matthew Randle