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Higgins, Poloncarz comment on New Era

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Thu, Nov 15th 2018 03:30 pm
Higgins Proposes to Work With New Era to Fight Tariffs
In September, Congressman Brian Higgins spoke on the Floor of the House of Representatives, concerned tariffs imposed by the Trump administration could cost consumers and local jobs at companies such as New Era Cap Co., headquartered in Buffalo. Two months later, that possibility became a reality, as New Era announced plans to close its Western New York manufacturing plant in Derby, impacting 219 local workers.
In a letter to New Era leadership, Higgins, a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, is pledging to work with New Era to advocate for relief of the tariffs, which has a great impact on costs associated with production of the headwear assembled at the local manufacturing facility.
In formal comments submitted to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in August in response to the administration's proposed tariffs, New Era wrote, in part: "The proposed 25 percent ad valorem on our finished headwear products coming out of China will impose near-crippling additional costs and threaten our ability to compete and grow our business. ... If the tariffs on headwear go into effect, the new costs will force us to make immediate and significant cuts to our U.S. operations, including workforce reductions."
Following conversations with New Era leadership related to the tariff notice, in September Higgins also wrote to Ambassador Lighthizer concerned the proposed Section 310 tariffs on headwear could jeopardize New Era's ability to compete, grow and continue investment in Western New York.
The administration announced a 10 percent tariff on a list of goods, including headwear components, which went into effect Sept. 24. That tariff is scheduled to increase to 25 percent on Jan. 1, 2019.
On Tuesday, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued the following statement regarding the impending closure of New Era's Derby facility, which would take place effective March 2019:
"I was very disappointed today to learn of the impending closure of New Era's Derby manufacturing facility, a move that hurts more than 200 families here in Erie County. New Era is such a homegrown success story that its name now adorns the professional football stadium owned by the people of Erie County. As such, the announcement of the closure took my administration by surprise, because no one from New Era contacted my administration or the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to notify us of this decision or to explore potential ways to keep New Era employees working in Derby. Nevertheless, I have reached out to New Era CEO Chris Koch directly to determine if any action can be taken to preserve these jobs. I hope there is still time to avoid this outcome, and will work with New Era, should they choose to do so, to find a solution that is better for Erie County workers."

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