This March, President Trump imposed trade tariffs on steel, at 25 percent, and aluminum, at 10 percent. Currently, North American suppliers are exempt from the tariffs, and some European suppliers may be added to the exemption list. The strictest tariffs are imposed on Asian imports, specifically China.
Because such a high percentage of materials utilized in a walk-in cooler or freezer are steel, aluminum or a combination of both, these tariffs will have a direct impact on our business. We want to clearly communicate how these economic changes may affect us — and, in turn, our customers.
Steel and aluminum sourcing
Currently, 70 percent of the metals we source come from North American mills; 25 percent come from Europe, and five percent from Asia. We do not source any metals specifically from China.
Although the steel and aluminum tariffs currently apply only to imported raw materials, the domino effect of them is inescapable in our industry. Due to the increase in demand, North American mills have announced significant price increases since the tariffs were announced. Prices are also continuing to rise from most of our component suppliers, such as hardware or electrical. Including raw material increases, our costs are projected to increase up to 10 percent.
We are working diligently to mitigate these increases, but we will not be able to offset them entirely. Unless something changes, these cost increases will be passed on to customers.
We are actively communicating with our representatives regarding this issue and actively voicing our opinions. We are also members of groups such as the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) that are also advocating on our behalf.
We continue to look for alternative solutions to help minimize the impact of material cost increases, such as other materials or manufacturing processes. Along with our suppliers, we want to do everything we can to bring alternative solutions to our customers.
No matter what economic changes we see in the future months, we are still committed to being with our customers every step of the way.
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