Hardwick Clothes calling for tariffs on imported clothing
As its 138th anniversary approaches, a well known Cleveland clothing company is calling for tariffs.
Hardwick Clothes, the oldest tailor-made clothing maker in the nation, wants Mexican and Canadian companies to pay tariffs of twenty-five percent on imported clothing.
"When the Tariff of 1824 was instituted, the goal was admirable: protect woolen mills in America,” Alan Jones, who rescued Hardwick from bankruptcy in 2014, said.
Jones explained that in 1930, Hardwick Woolen Mills was the largest clothing manufacturer and mill in the world.
The company sold its milling business when it saw the decline of mills and put its focus on tailored clothing instead.
“While fine woolen fabric mills in America have since ceased to exist, the tariffs have not. Today, manufacturers based on both of America’s borders—Canada and Mexico—pay no tariffs on imported fabrics (which come primarily from Europe), whereas American manufacturers pay a twenty-five percent tariff on the same goods, only to see Canadian and Mexican manufacturers ship their tailored clothing tariff-free to America," Jones added.
The Farm Bill offers a rebate program based on historical purchases, not actual purchases. A Hardwick spokesperson said the rebate "goes disproportionately to two manufacturers that receive much more rebate than they have paid in tariffs."
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Jones feels the program actually puts US clothing manufacturers, like Hardwick, at a disadvantage.
“The company has survived a mountain of obstacles during its 138-year history, including two major fires, two World Wars, the Great Depression, and even leisure suits!" Jones exclaimed. "Today, the company is penalized by tariffs on raw materials necessary to manufacture clothing and an unfair, disproportionate rebate subsidizing the company’s competitors.”
In addition to tariffs, Jones is asking that "any rebate be based on actual, not historical, purchases," allowing Hardwick to grow its market and pay employees more.
“Trump needs a substantial negotiating tool,” Jones concluded, “and we need to get out of the way and let Trump be Trump. He’ll manhandle these tariffs and bring about a level playing field for all American manufacturers.”
Channel 3 will keep you updated on this story.