September 11, 2018

Trump tariffs hurting Maine seating manufacturer, too

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Gary Merrill, CEO of;Hussey Seating, in the chair fabrication department in its North Berwick factory. Merrill oversees a company with sales of $100 million and a payroll of $15 million that Maine's congressional delegation says could be harmed by a new $200 million tranche of tariffs aimed at Chinese imports.

As concern grows about how a potential U.S.-China trade war may continue to adversely impact Maine lobster exports, the state's congressional delegation fears additional tariffs proposed by the Trump Administration also could harm a North Berwick-based manufacturer of bleachers and auditorium seating.

In a Sept. 6 letter, the delegation urges the federal government to eliminate three taxes from a new $200 million tranche of tariffs aimed at Chinese imports, claiming they would increase supply costs for Hussey Seating Co., a family-owned business that employs 300.

The proposed tariffs would "hurt Hussey's ability to compete because the custom molds and tools they use to make their products exist only in China," Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, and Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, wrote to U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer.

"To relocate or replicate these products will cause Hussey to incur higher costs as it locks in half of its contracts well before beginning new projects. Subjecting key products to new tariffs will disrupt its supply chain and cause irreparable harm to its long-term standing in its industry."

The proposal comes after previous tariffs increased costs for Hussey and other manufacturers.

"[Hussey] has already seen its prices for domestically sourced steel, aluminum, and other parts dramatically increase because of earlier Section 232 trade actions by the Department of Commerce," the delegation said in its letter.

Founded in 1835, Hussey makes seating systems for sports and entertainment arenas, schools and religious facilities around the world.


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