COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) believes the steel and aluminum tariffs announced this week may have a detrimental impact on the demand for HVACR products.

According to a survey of HARDI members conducted by HARDI’s Sheet Metal & Air Handling Committee, which concluded on March 7, the current overall domestic production capacity of steel and aluminum HVACR products cannot alone meet the current demand of the domestic market.

The survey reveals that the American steel and aluminum industries cannot currently make certain materials, such as the low-gauge foil required to make foil-scrim-kraft (FSK) facings, that are used on essential duct board, duct wrap, and other duct-insulating products.

Additionally, an increase in aggregate costs brought by the new tariffs may also result in a decrease in demand for HVACR products further along the supply chain.

HARDI does not currently know how these tariffs will affect the demand of finished HVACR products in terms of quantified metrics, but the organization intends to quantify this impact by closely monitoring its benchmarking and statistical programs.

"The immediate impact of these new tariffs will be felt first by our suppliers," said Talbot Gee, CEO, HARDI. “They have HARDI's full support so long as the interests of and benefits to the rest of the channel are maintained.

"The HARDI Sheet Metal & Air Handling Committee has been integral in working with members for our analysis of the potential impact of these new tariffs,” continued Gee. “We are confident in the committee’s ability to give continued, accurate assessments of the effects on our industry as this new policy is implemented.”

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Publication date: 03/09/18