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AHRI warns against Trump’s metal imports tariff pledge

HVACR trade body argues that US air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers would suffer from president’s recent pledges to hike costs on foreign aluminium and steel

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is among a broad number of US industry bodies expressing concern about proposals from President Donald Trump to introduce additional tariffs on aluminium and steel entering the country.

A letter co-signed by the institute that was sent to the president, along with current commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, has warned that any decision to impose the additional charges as proposed via social media were expected to negatively impact the manufacture of specialist goods such as cooling equipment.

AHRI president Stephen Yurek said that there was disappointment among its members about the tariff plans put forward by the US president due to the industry’s reliance on steel and aluminium for its products.

He said, “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.”

“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.”

President Trump is facing criticisms from a range of foreign governments such as the UK, as well as reportedly from sections of his own party, for the stated commitments to impose charges on select imported metals. These comments were made as the president took to social media to say he viewed trade wars as beneficial to protect domestic metal production in the US and other national industries.

Commitments still remain in place from the president to implement some form of trade protection measures, despite strong opposition from within the Republican party and government that the US president represents, according to media reports.

UK prime minister Theresa May has also spoken with the US president over his tariff ambitions, according to a brief statement issued by the UK government.

The statement said, “The prime minister raised our deep concern at the President’s forthcoming announcement on steel and aluminium tariffs, noting that multilateral action was the only way to resolve the problem of global overcapacity in all parties’ interests.”

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