US-based industry group, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) has warned that tariffs on steel and aluminium will negatively impact the HVACR industry.
In a letter to US President, Donald Trump, AHRI said it was disappointed by the decision to introduce a proposed 25 per cent levy on all steel imports and 10 per cent levy on aluminum.
AHRI president and CEO Stephen Yurek, said it will be injurious rather than helpful to members of the group, which represent manufacturers of heating, air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and water heating products and equipment in the US.
"As major users of steel and aluminum, we have been proactive in explaining to the administration that the HVACR and water heating industry would be negatively impacted by an increase in tariffs, as would the consumers that rely on the products we manufacture," Yurek said.
"While we have been pleased with the Trump Administration's enthusiastic support for manufacturing, we believe this step to be injurious rather than helpful, to our efforts to increase American manufacturing and create jobs.”
President of the Peterson Institution for International Economics, Adam Posen, described the tariffs as 'straight up stupid'.
"Steel is just a tiny input in US gross domestic product (GDP) terms which is why it's so crazy. You mess up your entire trading system for an industry that has a total of 80,000 jobs," Posen said.
2015 census data showed roughly 140,000 Americans were employed in steel mills, contributing $36 billion to the national economy. By comparison, steel-consuming industries, which experts believe will be hardest hit by the tariffs, employ 6.5 million Americans and add about $1 trillion to US GDP.
The US accounts for about 0.8 per cent of Australia's steel exports and about 1.5 per cent of aluminium exports. It is an industry worth about $545 million to Australia's economy.