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The steel and aluminum tariffs between the US and Canada may have ended, but the HVACR industry is still being affected by tariffs imposed by the US against China. The ACHR News recently published a report about some of the concerns for HVACR companies south of the border.

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Industry leaders were interviewed after being briefed by a White House representative who suggested the main goal was to protect US businesses from theft of intellectual property.

Todd Washam, vice president of public policy and industry relations for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) said the tariffs are having an impact, creating 10 to 20 percent equipment price increases, which are driving up consumer costs. An ACCA member survey found that 88 percent felt the steel and aluminum tariffs are affecting their businesses and their customers, and there is very little evidence of contractors absorbing the added costs.

Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) said that AHRI has opposed the tariffs since their inception because “our industry needs tariff-free access to global consumers and suppliers.” He said AHRI members are negatively affected by the increased cost of material and by increased administrative costs associated with changing their supply chains and requesting tariff exclusions from the government.

The organization surveyed its members and found that 67 percent opposed the steel and aluminum tariffs, and 60 percent oppose tariffs on Chinese imports.

Despite price increases, contractors are still reporting strong sales. Although higher prices do not seem to have yet affected consumer decision-making, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said after one of the early actions that tariffs and retaliation could put 455,000 jobs at risk, and that tariffs are in neither country’s interest.