How Will Tariffs Affect the Window and Glass Industries?

U.S.tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union (EU) went into effect on June 1, raising the possibility that glass and fenestration products could play a small role in a trade conflict involving some of the largest economies in the world.

Laminated glass and doors and windows are on a list of U.S. goods that the EU could tax in retaliation for the U.S. slapping import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. However, those are not products that the U.S. exports in large numbers to the EU.

According to the 2016 Top Markets report from the U.S. International Trade Administration, no EU countries are listed among the top 10 importers of glass made in the U.S. (Canada represents more than half of all U.S. flat glass exports.) The U.S. is expected to export $1.07 billion in glass globally in 2018, according to the report.

That’s because the EU, which has about 50 float lines within its member countries, produces enough glass to fulfill its internal demand. A 2014 report from the Centre for European Policy Studies found that imports into Europe peaked in 2007 at approximately 11 percent of total EU production, and it has dropped below 10 percent since then. Most of the EU’s imported glass comes from China.

The EU has a strong door and window industry, so it isn’t dependent on imports of those products from here, either. Of the 154 countries that are export markets for U.S. doors and windows, only two in the EU rank in the top 10—the Netherlands (No. 7) and the U.K. (No. 8). That’s according to the recently published “2017 Top Markets Report Building Products Sector Snapshot: U.S. Window and Door Exports” from the U.S. International Trade Administration. Most U.S. door and window exports —about 63 percent—go to nearby North American trading partners Canada and Mexico.

“For the U.S. industry, the importance of Canada and Mexico as export markets cannot be overstated,” the report reads. “In 2016, fully 54 percent of U.S. exports went to Canada and an additional 9 percent went to Mexico. While significantly different in market size, growth profile, development status and business customs, these two leading markets share important attributes: tariff-free market access for U.S. windows and doors; proximity to consumers; ease of product trans-port; and broad acceptance of U.S. building products in construction.”

However, that tariff-free access appears to be coming to an end for many types of products.

Canada announced that it “intends to impose surtaxes or similar trade-restrictive countermeasures against up to C$16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the U.S., representing the value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by the U.S. measures,” the nation’s government said in a statement. The sanctions were set to begin on July 1 and last until the U.S. revokes its tariffs.

Among the items that will face duties are “aluminum structures and parts of structures,” including “doors and windows and their frames and thresholds for doors, balustrades, pillars and columns; aluminum plates, rods, profiles, tubes and the like.” Glass is not on the list.

Aluminum doors, windows, frames and thresholds represent 17.7 percent of U.S. global exports in the doors and windows sector, according to the U.S. Trade Administration.

Mexico also announced that it would slap duties on a range of products from the U.S. They mostly target agricultural goods, though.

Business Associations React

Business associations issued statements condemning the tariffs:

“These additional tariffs will result in further price increases for the residential and commercial construction markets.” —Michael O’Brien, CEO, Window and Door Manufacturers Association

“Extending the reach of these tariffs and quotas to additional countries is certain to provoke widespread retaliation from abroad and would put at risk the economic momentum achieved through the administration’s tax and regulatory reforms.” —Myron Brilliant, executive vice president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Andersen Corporation to Expand Bayport, Minn., Plant

Andersen Corp. broke ground in May on a 60,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing campus in Bayport, Minn. The $40 million expansion is expected to create at least 40 full-time production jobs to support growing demand.

This expansion will add Fibrex material extrusion capabilities to sup-port the sales growth of the Andersen 100 Series product portfolio.

“We reviewed several locations and selected to expand in Bayport because of the experienced workforce, the proximity to our 100 Series assembly operations and the ability to leverage available land at our flagship manufacturing campus,” said Andersen Corp. chair and CEO Jay Lund. “This expansion will add extrusion capabilities in Bayport to support sales growth of our 100 Series, while re-purposing much of our North Branch, Minn., extrusion plant to support the growth of Renewal by Andersen.”

Combilift Opens New Global Headquarters

Forklift manufacturer Combilift recently opened a new $60 million headquarters and manufacturing facility in Monaghan, Ireland, that the company says will create 200 new jobs for skilled technicians.

The new 500,000-square-foot plant will allow Combilift to double production, according to the company.

The 200 jobs, coming in the next three years, are for technicians, engineers, logistics and supply chain specialists and those with mechatronics skills. Combilift currently employs 550 people.

“Combilift is an incredible home-grown Monaghan success story,” said Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who spoke at the event.“When the company was founded 20 years ago, it had three employees, a brilliant concept, and the ambition to make it a reality. We need more homegrown companies like Combilift if we are to achieve our vision for a prosperous future for communities living in counties all across the country.”

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DWM Magazine

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