>> This factory in Franklin Park, Illinois, should be one of the winners of a little known trade war over tool boxes. But so far it hasn't worked out that way. After nearly closing in 2016, Metal Box International, makers of Husky and MBI tool chests, saw its industry win a trade case that resulted in stiff tariffs being slapped on its cheaper Chinese rivals.
Co-owner, Mitch Liss, breathed a huge sigh of relief then prepared to ramp up his production.>> We began purchasing a lot of new equipment, some of which is sitting right over here. It’s not running because we haven’t yet seen the pick up in the business that we had hoped for.
>> And Metal Box is now a shining example of just how messy policy making can be. Reuters' Tim Apell visited the factory.>> This is a story about a trade case where the US industry is getting protection, and thought that everything would get much better quickly, and it hasn't.
They haven't seen a big surge of orders coming back from overseas which is kind of a mystery in this story.>> Some speculate that retailers like Home Depot saw the tariffs coming, and scooped up loads of Chinese imports before they took effect. Still, Metal Box employees like Garry Green, who just last year feared for his job as head of distribution, remained hopeful about US manufacturing under the Trump administration.
>> I could see the difference. He’s manufacturing-oriented. He’s tried to give incentives to the companies to remain in the US.>> Despite that, there's another potential headwind coming for Metal Box. President Trump's new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, both used in making tool chests, which could drive up costs for the company