Today, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) requested tariff exemptions for New Jersey company Snow Joe at the company’s new distribution center in Mahwah.
At the launch of his #MadeInTheFifth Tour, Gottheimer announced his letter calling on the U.S. Trade Representative to exclude electric and cordless snow shovels and snow throwers from the proposed Section 301 tariffs and hold more comprehensive hearings on the impact of jobs and companies staying in New Jersey, so that great New Jersey and American companies like Snow Joe can continue to thrive and create.
“Snow Joe is a #MadeInTheFifth company – a cutting-edge employer of New Jersey families that deserves recognition for its entrepreneurial spirit, its contributions to our community, and opening a 271,000-square-foot distribution center right here in Mahwah, bringing 150 new jobs to the area,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Like many great American companies, Snow Joe’s success is facing a serious threat – and that’s the proposed sweeping tariffs on its goods. These sweeping tariffs threaten the jobs in this building and the future of American companies like this one. We need to do everything we can do avoid these new taxes on our businesses, jobs, and companies.”
“Snow Joe was thrilled to show off our new 271,000 square foot class A facility to Rep. Gottheimer today. We are also grateful for his commitment to New Jersey economic growth. I cannot wait to invite him back for another visit once our new facility is fully up and running,” said Snow Joe CEO Joe Cohen.
Watch video from the event HERE.
Below: Gottheimer demonstrates a Sun Joe electric, cordless chainsaw with Snow Joe CEO Joe Cohen (right)
Below: Gottheimer and Snow Joe CEO Joe Cohen tour the 271,000-square-foot Class A distribution center
Below (left to right): Snow Joe CEO Joe Cohen, Congressman Josh Gottheimer, and Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet
Congressman Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Today, I came here for two reasons:
First, Snow Joe is a #MadeInTheFifth company – a cutting-edge employer of New Jersey families that deserves recognition for its entrepreneurial spirit, its contributions to our community, and for doing business in New Jersey.
We’re also here today because like many great American companies, Snow Joe’s success is facing a serious threat – and that’s the proposed tariffs on its goods. These tariffs threaten the jobs in this building and the future of American companies like this one.
Let’s talk a little more about Snow Joe. I love this company – and it’s a growing company.
Snow Joe recently opened this state-of-the-art 271,000-square-foot Class A distribution center right here in Mahwah, bringing a hundred new jobs to the area. Yes, a hundred new jobs. This company deserves our deep gratitude for its loyalty to our state and to our workers.
Snow Joe is a hallmark of New Jersey innovation and grit. Joe started it when he was only seventeen-years-old, selling electric snow shovels online at home. His can-do attitude and Jersey-edge gave him the motivation to overcome the naysayers who couldn’t believe that such a young entrepreneur was changing the game when it came to outdoor tools.
Joe was determined that he could build these tools better than anyone else. Joe epitomizes Jersey values. And, in 2013, his company created the iON, the first truly efficient gas-free and cord-free, battery-operated snow blower, opening up a whole new category in cordless snow removal. It’s an amazing line – and they’re right behind me. When it comes to lawn care, the Garden State leads with Snow Joe and Sun Joe.
With a story like that, we should do everything possible for Snow Joe to grow here in America – and avoid any policy that would threaten the hundreds of jobs that Joe has created here.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly the problem we are facing and discussing here today.
The Administration’s Office of the US Trade Representative recently proposed sweeping across-the-board tariffs on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.
The proposed tariffs are part of the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.
And let’s be clear — for years now, China has been infringing on American innovation and stealing our technology, costing the United States an estimated $600 billion every year. When I worked at Microsoft, I saw this first-hand. It’s outrageous and we should do everything in our power to stop it. We cannot allow the determined and relentless strategic theft of our intellectual property to continue, and standing up for America’s makers are a step in the right direction.
That said, any proposed tariffs must be targeted, not applied broadly with no consideration for the nuances of — and impact on — American jobs — on New Jersey jobs. Our businesses, employees, and consumers throughout North Jersey would be crushed by tariffs on seasonal items like electric and cordless snow shovels and snow throwers.
We’ve already seen that the plans to levy a twenty-five percent tariff on steel imports are driving steel prices way up – 17% or more – preventing American development projects from breaking ground, killing American construction jobs. Daren Hornig, a New York City developer, said, “A lot of times when you’re looking at development opportunities, it’s the cost of construction that just knocks you out of the game because the cost is too high… [These tariffs] will one hundred percent have an effect.”
In New Jersey, John Kennedy the CEO of the Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) said that he already knows of thirty-seven companies that have said they’re being affected negatively by these tariffs: “Workers get laid off, the prices go up – you know, companies might move.”
The goal of today’s particular “Section 301” tariffs – the ones that are affecting Snow Joe – is to target large scale, Chinese-built farm equipment that is also built by American companies. The US Trade Representative rightly wants to punish Chinese companies and China for their thievery and encourage American companies to purchase American goods. Broadly speaking, that’s a good idea – just like we need to take steps to protect American IT,software, and other products from IP theft.
But as even U.S. Chamber President Tom Donohue observed, “The administration is right to focus on the negative economic impact of China’s industrial policies and unfair trade practices, but the U.S. Chamber would strongly disagree with a decision to impose sweeping tariffs.” I couldn’t agree more.
The problem in this case is that — to the best of our knowledge — there is no U.S. or other foreign producer of these snow tools. Not only that, but these goods behind me are not exactly large scale farm equipment. Yet, they’re being treated that way, and now they’ve been caught up in these proposed tariffs.
Democrats and Republicans are in bipartisan agreement on stopping these new taxes.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska recently noted the impact an escalating trade war could have on farmers when he said, “[The Administration’s] threatening to light American agriculture on fire.” And this is on top of the uncertainty for farmers already caused by the extremist farm bill failing in Congress.
The Senator from Nebraska rightfully added, “Let’s absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us.”
Even Republican Senate Finance Chairman said the Administratoin’s trade advisor, “ought to be reprimanded.”
We need a more targeted approach. To put it another way, you can’t just spray snow everywhere. You need to clear a path for certain industries. We need to fight back in a smart way – and not throw out the baby with the bath water.
If Snow Joe is hit with this sweeping tariff, they will have no place to turn in the production of their excellent equipment. This growing job creator with 150 new employees in Mahwah will have to make tough decisions about the future of its business here in North Jersey. They’re already facing an expensive climate here in Jersey, where, in my opinion, taxes are too high – and should be cut, not raised – and our regulations are too burdensome, and our infrastructure is not where it should be.
To place a twenty-five percent tariff on these small-scale consumer snow removal tools would cripple this distinctive and innovative sector, discouraging breakthrough technologies, punishing American consumers, and potentially killing New Jersey jobs – all, according to experts, without advancing the goals with respect to punishing China for their cheating and anti-competitive behavior.
This poorly applied tariff will add up to yet another tax on New Jersey, harming our businesses, jobs and our consumers.
Let’s stand up to China. Let’s end the cheating and do everything we can to make and buy goods here. But, let’s be smart about how we do it. We cannot allow strong, innovative employers like Snow Joe to fall victim to well-intentioned, but counterproductive efforts to boost American competitiveness.
For that reason, today, I am calling on the US Trade Representative to exclude these products from the proposed tariffs and hold more comprehensive hearings on the impact of jobs and companies staying in New Jersey, so that great New Jersey and American companies like Snow Joe can continue to thrive and create. And most importantly, they can continue to make it here in the Fifth.
Thank you and God bless you.