ARLINGTON, Va. - President Bush's decision to rescind the tariffs imposed on steel is a "clear victory for consumers and the manufacturers of heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and air conditioning equipment for whom steel is a vital and fundamental component," stated William G. Sutton, president of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI).

"ARI and its members made a strong case for repeal, and the facts proved overwhelming, especially as industry after industry joined us in making the argument that each day that we pay extra for steel means more jobs shifted to Asia," remarked Sutton, whose trade association represents manufacturers of more than 90 percent of the North American-produced central air conditioners and commercial refrigeration equipment.

According to ARI, the HVACR industry, with 175,000 workers, achieves a positive trade balance annually with exports exceeding imports, but rising costs due to the tariffs threatened the ability of American firms to compete and imposed an unfair burden on consumers. ARI representatives joined others in warning the International Trade Commission (ITC) that the tariffs were encouraging manufacturers to move facilities abroad.

"This action by President Bush is an important step forward to help the HVACR industry improve its position in 2004," commented Sutton.

In his statement on Dec. 4, 2003, President Bush said the tariffs gave the U.S. steel industry a chance to recover from the impact of low-cost steel imports.

Publication date: 12/01/2003