Why Are Paperclips Protected By Law?

Photo by ccharmon

Did you know that if you live in the United States nearly every paperclip you’ve ever used has been manufactured domestically?

Why? Do we make the best paperclips in the world?

Not necessarily. According to the Wall Street Journal, paperclips are protected by a 127% tariff!

The two main U.S. makers — ACCO and Officemate International Corp. of Edison, N.J. — have survived in that business mainly because, since 1994, import tariffs ranging up to 127% of the base price have protected U.S. clip makers from what the federal government deemed unfair Chinese competition. In June, the U.S. government renewed those tariffs for another five years. ACCO and Officemate also have kept costs low through automation.

A bigger mystery is what Americans do with the estimated 11 billion clips sold annually in the U.S. That works out to about 35 per American. “We actually can’t understand how the U.S. consumption can be so huge,” says Martin Yang, a senior vice president at Officemate.

Photo by ccharmon.


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