HVAC equipment manufacturers may soon have to pay more for the metal they use in their products after the White House announced plans March 1 to levy tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
President Donald Trump said the U.S. would impose a 25 percent duty on steel and a 10 percent duty on aluminum in an effort to restore “balance” with foreign steel-producing countries such as China.
Trump announced the plan in an early morning post on Twitter.
“Our steel and aluminum industries — and many others — have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world,” Trump tweeted. “We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer.”
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, which represents most of the major U.S. manufacturers of HVAC equipment, had lobbied against the tariffs. Association President and CEO Stephen Yurek said it was disappointed in the White House’s decision.
“As major users of steel and aluminum, we have been proactive in explaining to the administration that the HVACR and water heating industry would be negatively impacted by an increase in tariffs, as would the consumers that rely on the products we manufacture,” Yurek said. “While we have been pleased with the Trump administration’s enthusiastic support for manufacturing, we believe this step to be injurious, rather than helpful, to our efforts to increase American manufacturing and create jobs.”
The Precision Metalforming Association and the National Tooling and Machining Association issued a joint statement that said the levy will punish America’s manufacturing industry.
“The steep tariffs on steel and aluminum that President Trump announced will be imposed next week imperils the U.S. manufacturing sector, and particularly downstream U.S. steel and aluminum consuming companies, who alone employ 6.5 million Americans compared to the 80,000 employed by the domestic steel industry,” the associations said. “The tariffs will lead to the U.S. once again becoming an island of high steel prices, resulting in our customers simply importing the finished part. The lost business to overseas competitors will threaten thousands of jobs across the United States in the steel-consuming manufacturing sector.”