ARLINGTON, Va. — The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), which represents manufacturers of heating, air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and water heating products and equipment, is disappointed in President Donald Trump’s March 1 decision to impose additional tariffs on steel and aluminum. As we made clear in letters to the president and to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, AHRI does not support additional tariffs on steel and aluminum due to their impact on manufacturers and consumers.

"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 who rely on the products we manufacture," said Stephen Yurek, president and CEO, AHRI. "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.”

One of letters referenced above — which is signed by a total of 25 associations, including AHRI, the American Supply Association, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, is included below:

Dear Mr. President:

As representatives of thousands of businesses across the United States, we are concerned with the recently released reports by the Department of Commerce entitled “The Effects of Imports of Steel on the National Security” and “The Effects of Imports of Aluminum on the National Security” (collectively, the Reports). After reviewing the Reports, our industries are worried that all of the remedies recommended are overly-broad and will have severe detrimental impact on downstream users of steel and aluminum. We understand your goal of supporting these two important sectors of our domestic manufacturing base. However, it is our belief that global tariffs and quotas on imports of these products will injure the purchasers of these products and will lead to the loss of thousands of American jobs. Trade restrictions of this nature and magnitude will therefore lead to more downstream steel and aluminum-containing products being imported into the U.S. Historical and current data shows that the remedies prescribed in the Reports will significantly raise input costs for industries that use these products. Further, as steel and aluminum costs continue to rise and availability decreases, it will impede the ability of downstream manufacturers and the suppliers and retailers reliant upon them to reinvest in innovation and their workforce. Finally, actions of this type will inevitably result in trade retaliation by our trading partners, and such retaliation will likely target U.S. exports abroad, including manufacturers, agricultural and commodity exporters and even our services industries. Thank you for your efforts to support manufacturing in America. The U.S. economy is starting to see the benefits of the Administration’s tax reform and regulatory agenda. However, we believe that all options provided in the Reports will significantly curtail job growth for downstream users, which are cumulatively far larger in terms of employment than steel and aluminum. Such trade measures will serve as a drag on overall U.S. economic growth and far outweigh any benefit to steel and aluminum producers. We urge you instead to look for better solutions to legitimate concerns about global trade in these products that will benefit both producers and users.

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Publication date: 03/02/18