Mary Buchzeiger is a small business owner and proud Republican who believes in President Donald Trump’s agenda when it comes to America’s trade deficits.
But the Michigan executive is worried that Trump is going about finding a remedy for America’s trade woes in the wrong way – and Buchzeiger says she’s angry and a bit fearful that the president’s haphazard ways could spell the end of her profitable business.
Buchzeiger believes Trump’s proposed $50 billion tariffs on China will cost her 50 employees their jobs and potentially shut down her automotive supply company.
This is crazy.
My company, Lucerne International, makes cast, stamped and forged components and assemblies for the automotive and heavy truck industries. Our largest contract is for the Jeep Wrangler. As one of the world's only companies producing Class-A forgings, we make the door, hood, windshield and tailgate hinges that sit outside Wranglers like polished jewels.
It starts overseas — we have seven plants in Asia, where the hinges are manufactured. They are shipped to the Lucerne plant outside Detroit, inspected, repackaged and sent to another auto supplier for assembly before being shipped to Toledo for installation on the vehicle.
Cutting that supply chain, says Buchzeiger, would eclipse thousands of American jobs and cost America billions of dollars.
At the heart of Buchzeiger’s problems is a provision within Trump’s tariff scheme that would place a 25 percent tax on "iron or steel, aluminum, or zinc hinges and base metal parts … designed for motor vehicles."
Those are our hinges. As far as I know, no other company falls under this provision buried in a $50 billion list of products. For every $2,000 in duties proposed by the U.S., $1 directly impacts Lucerne.
For the life of me, I can't figure out why my certified woman-owned company in the heart of Trump country is being targeted.
Though she agrees with the president “on the big picture”, Buchzeiger is hoping Trump will grant her company and employees an exclusion.
I wonder: Does President Trump know that his tariff on imported components threatens almost every manufacturing job in Michigan?
Does he know that my little company in my little corner of Michigan would lose 90 percent of its business overnight? Does he understand that a 25 percent tax on the components Lucerne uses would evaporate my profit margins? That it would shut us down?
Buchzeiger thinks Trump is unaware of such consequences – and she also believes the president cares about small businesses like hers.
I've got to believe he will change his mind, grant sensible exclusions, and help companies like Lucerne make America great again.