TPP in Real Life: From Bagel Baskets to Highly Engineered Industrial Products, Why One Baltimore-Based Small Business Says We Need to Pass TPP and Export Like Crazy

Founded in 1968 and once known as the “king of the bagel baskets,” Marlin Steel Wire Products LLC is a Baltimore, Md., small business that has transformed and grown its manufacturing footprint to become a major supplier to industrial companies throughout the United States and globally, while saving and growing jobs in Baltimore.

Marlin Steel Facility in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo Courtesy: David Bohrer / National Association of Manufacturers

Marlin Steel facility in Baltimore, Md. Photo courtesy of David Bohrer/National Association of Manufacturers.

Originally based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Marlin Steel moved to Baltimore when it was acquired by current President and Owner Drew Greenblatt in 1998. As demand for bagels declined and bagel basket imports flooded the U.S. market, Mr. Greenblatt recognized that Marlin Steel needed to shift the focus of its business to ensure continued growth.

In the early 2000s, Marlin Steel invested in automated manufacturing robots, which expanded productivity and allowed the company to focus on highly engineered products, such as wire baskets, mesh baskets, material handling baskets and steel racks and baskets, which are in demand by many other industrial sectors ranging from automotive and aerospace to machinery and pharmaceuticals. Employing 24 steelworkers at its Baltimore facility, small Marlin Steel is a supplier to many large industrial companies, including Boeing, Caterpillar, Cummins, Ford, General Electric, General Motors, Honda, Lockheed Martin, Merck and Toyota.

Marlin Steel Wire Conveyor Basket used by Automotive Industry on Assembly Lines in Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Photo Courtesy: Marlin Steel Wire Products LLC

Marlin Steel wire conveyor basket used by the automotive industry on assembly lines in Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Photo courtesy of Marlin Steel Wire Products LLC.

Marlin Steel exports to 39 countries, and 25 percent of the company’s sales and jobs depend on exports. Mr. Greenblatt says that “free trade agreements level the playing field for U.S. goods and open markets for ‘Made in the USA’ exports by eliminating anti-manufacturing taxes and other barriers. If we could get rid of tariffs through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Marlin Steel could hire unemployed Baltimore steelworkers for jobs that pay $25 per hourthat is, if Congress passes this critical agreement.”

The TPP would eliminate all tariffs on products manufactured by Marlin Steel, including the 5 percent tariff charged on Marlin Steel’s exports to New Zealand and tariffs levied on these products by Vietnam (20 percent) and Malaysia (5 percent).

As Mr. Greenblatt underscored in a recent Fox News “The Deciders” segment, “If you want to grow jobs, if you want to grow our country, we need more clients; we need new markets. America only has 4 percent of the world’s population. We need to export like crazy, and that’s how we’re going to grow, and that’s how we’re going to hire unemployed steelworkers.”

 

Read more TPP in Real Life stories here.

Ken Monahan

Ken Monahan

Director for International Trade Policy at National Association of Manufacturers
Ken Monahan is the Director for International Trade Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), where he works with NAM member companies to develop and advocate the association’s positions and priorities on trade agreement negotiations, ensure enforcement of existing trade agreement commitments, and other issues including the World Trade Organization (WTO), miscellaneous tariff bills, data flows and privacy, conflict minerals, forced localization, and other bilateral country trade matters (e.g., Colombia, South Korea, and the European Union and its member states). Mr. Monahan has on-the-ground experience negotiating trade agreements, having worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce on the WTO Doha Round negotiations, the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement and other international trade matters.
Ken Monahan

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