The beginning of July saw the Canadian government implement new tariffs on U.S.-produced steel, aluminum and other U.S. products. They’re a direct response to the tariffs the U.S. imposed on Canadian imports here earlier in the year.

We saw this coming. The new tariffs were made effective as of July 1, and include “doors, windows and their frames and thresholds for doors.” And as of this writing, that’s about as clear as it gets. The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), who have been strong advocates for us throughout the summer, noted in a recent communication to members that they’ll be working to discern clearer information, including what exactly will be affected and how the tariffs will be imposed.

This news directly affects U.S. window manufacturers selling those products into Canada. Between increasing raw material costs and increased construction costs, we already have a drag on new construction growth, and these tariffs won’t help matters. We’re certainly seeing some storm clouds on the horizon.

The View from Here is that, while we might not need to push the panic button yet, nothing good can come from these measures for U.S. manufacturers. Free trade has bolstered the world economy for a long time, and there’s some major shakeups happening under President Trump’s administration. Mounting trade barriers will only inhibit the growth of our industry domestically and internationally.

I want to reiterate a point I made last week: We must always be our own advocates, especially in times of uncertainty. Getting involved with industry advocacy can be a way to make an impact.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

1 Comment

  1. Even without the Donald there have always been sore points in U.S. and Canadian trade relations. Canada has a policy that protects Canadian farmers who produce dairy products, making sure they can make a decent living from a good price in Canada. The U.S. has uncontrolled production and desperately wants to get into the Canadian market. No benefit for Canada, so it is not going to happen.

    Every few years the U.S. government has put tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber and then loses in the international arbitration process. After a while, they do it again. The issue is the different approach to stumpage fees between the two countries. The U.S. tends to forget that Canada is an independent country at times.

    Beyond the effect of tariffs on specific products, there is a movement in Canada to simply try to boycott U.S. products which may or may not amount to something significant, but the fact the it is a bit of anti-Americanism from the U.S.’s staunchest ally should be disturbing.

    I do not believe in totally free trade because there are social differences and approaches that are fair for a country to maintain. On the other hand, there are products where free or managed trade works. Even before NAFTA, the Auto Pact between Canada and the U.S. worked well. LOL – If you look at some of the products where Canada has placed stiff tariffs on U.S. goods, it may not be an accident that many will impact geographic areas of the states with a high number of Trump voters.

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