Texas steel pipe manufacturer becomes casualty of Trump's trade war

Steel pipe factory workers send Trump postcard pleas
Steel pipe factory workers send Trump postcard pleas

President Donald Trump's tariffs are hurting a Texas steel pipe manufacturer.

Borusan Mannesmann, which makes pipes for Texas' oil and gas refineries, estimates that the 25% tariff on imported steel will cost the company up to $35 million a year and kill its plans to expand and hire more workers.

The company imports steel tubing and casing from its parent company in Turkey, and finishes the products at a factory in Baytown. It is seeking an exemption from the tariffs and is awaiting the administration's decision.

"It would really impact the community, which already has a 10% unemployment rate," CEO Joel Johnson told CNN's Poppy Harlow in an interview Wednesday. "We want to grow."

Related: Harley-Davidson will move some production out of US after retaliatory tariffs

Johnson is offering Trump a deal: In return for a two-year tariff exemption, the company will spend up to $75 million to build another pipe factory in Baytown, which it says would create 170 jobs.

"We're not asking for a forever relief," Johnson said. "We're just asking for a short-term bridge, and give us enough time to build another factory."

"It's a win-win for America," he added.

The Commerce Department declined to comment on the status of the exemption request.

Borusan Mannesmann is one of about 21,000 US companies that have filed for waivers from the steel and aluminum tariffs. The Commerce Department has granted seven, including Schick Manufacturing, the razor blade producer.

Mid-Continent Nail, the largest nail manufacturer in the United States, has also been caught in the Trump administration's trade fight.

Its plant in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, laid off 60 of its 500 workers last week because of higher steel costs. The company blames the 25% tariff on imported steel. Orders for nails plunged 50% after the company raised its prices to deal with higher costs.

Mid-Continent Nail is "on the brink of extinction," spokesman James Glassman told Harlow in an interview on Tuesday.

—CNNMoney's Chris Isidore and CNN's Haley Draznin contributed to this story.

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