Some politicians on Capitol Hill are taking a stand against President Donald Trump’s order to levy taxes on aluminum and steel imports. Several Republicans and Democrats say the taxes will create a trade war with other countries, increase prices of some goods and cost some metal workers their jobs.

The former Noranda smelter is in the St. Jude Industrial Park in New Madrid (November 2017 photo from Missourinet’s Darren Rucker)

New Madrid city administrator Richard McGill, who has been courting a possible steel mill and an aluminum plant reopening there soon, views Trump’s move as positive for his area.

“I’m not a foreign trade expert by any means, but I believe the tariffs that President Trump has discussed at least will have a great impact on our area. I’m sure there could be negative impacts or perceived as negative impacts,” McGill tells Missourinet. “But in terms of the steel mill or the smelter, I really think the tariffs are going to lead to a greater chance of success for both of those.”

The tariffs – 10% on aluminum and 25% on steel – have been signed by way of a presidential executive order.

“I believe that this certainly would increase maybe what the plants have projected in terms of production,” he says.

In March 2016, the Noranda aluminum plant closed near New Madrid and put 900 people out of work. Magnitude 7 Metals is preparing to reopen the location – creating 450 new jobs at an annual salary of about $64,000. McGill hopes that later this summer there will be a decision made about a possible steel mill opening nearby.

“You’re talking about the two biggest potential employers that we may be bringing to the area in the next couple of months both being impacted by these tariffs,” says McGill. “To us here in New Madrid, we see the tariffs as something that would benefit our area greatly because of the increase in the number of jobs of our citizens and people in this area.”

McGill says he spends about half of each work day on plans related to a potential steel mill. He says Missouri is in the running with one or two other locations for the project that is slated to include up to 210 jobs during about a two-year period.