AEM: What equipment manufacturers are saying about Trump’s tariffs
Over the last several months, the Trump Administration has placed harmful tariffs on imports that are making a considerable impact on the equipment manufacturing industry.
So far, the Trump Administration has placed, or threatened to place, more than $250 billion in tariffs on many different types of goods from China, including construction and agricultural equipment, as well as necessary components used in value-added manufacturing. The administration has also implemented a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum from many of the United States's largest trading partners, including its allies in Europe, Canada and Mexico.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has spoken out about the tariffs multiple times, but what are equipment manufacturing company executives saying about the tariffs? Here's a sample:
"Since the Trump administration proposed (the tariffs), there has been a lot of discussion. You have seen prices inching up in the marketplace. Today, we have prices about 50 percent higher on your plate steel than maybe last year around this time. You figure, if the tariffs account for a 25 percent increase, then prices should just go up 25 percent... In reality, this pretty much shut off a lot of the foreign steel coming into the U.S. Our steel industry can't supply for all our (domestic) needs, giving them no incentive to lower their prices. We have seen some substantial price increases for the steel we use in our business." – Jeff May, president of Kolberg-Pioneer, Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan, July 15, 2018
"The people it helps most of all are my competitors in Germany and Japan, who also have large parts of their supply chain in Asia but don't have these tariffs...One of the big scary unknowns is we don't know how China will react...There are lots of things they could do to make life difficult for U.S. businesses operating in China that would be detrimental to us." – Austin Ramirez, chief executive officer of Husco International, New York Times, July 6, 2018
"At this point, we really need more visibility before we would bring in more workers..." and "Overall the economy in the past 18 months has been very good...We had a good year last year, and we're in the middle of a good year this year. But we are very concerned about the tariffs." – Michael Haberman, president of Gradall Industries, Reuters, May 4, 2018, & Financial Times, July 4, 2018
"You get a step forward and then you have to take two steps back because of the tariffs." Mr. Goldsbury said higher steel costs could make Bobcat loaders and excavators more expensive to build than those from rivals in Japan and other countries where steel isn't subject to tariffs. That new threat to business in the U.S., where Bobcat employs some 3,500 people, has outweighed gains from policies advanced by President Donald Trump's administration to cut regulation and lower taxes. – Rich Goldsbury, president of Doosan Bobcat North America, The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2018
"As a global manufacturer, we value free and fair markets, and see the imposition of these tariffs as a significant source of friction in the global economy... It is particularly frustrating to have these added costs imposed now, creating unnecessary headwinds at a time when markets are trending favorably. We encourage you to join us in asking your government representatives to seek the elimination of these tariffs." – John Garrison, president and chief executive officer of Terex Corporation, KHL, March 6, 2018
"This is going to unfortunately throw some cold water on that momentum... It's going to bring a dynamic of risk and volatility that we haven't had to deal with in a while." – Jason Andringa, president and chief executive officer of Vermeer Corporation, The Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2018
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