Equipment Industry Calls for Permanent Tariff Exemption for Canadian Steel

On Wednesday, April 18 two leading international trade associations joined forces to urge the Trump administration to permanently exempt Canada from steel tariffs and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) without scrapping the accord entirely.

In a letter to President Donald J. Trump, Associated Equipment Distributors’ (AED) President and CEO Brian P. McGuire and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM) President Dennis Slater commended the efforts to maintain strong cross-border relations with Canada while also warning of the detrimental impact to U.S. and Canadian equipment manufacturers and dealers from continued trade uncertainty. Both AED and AEM have U.S. and Canadian members.

“The U.S. and Canada maintain a tightly integrated market for steel,” wrote McGuire and Slater. “Canada has competitively-priced steel production and is taking measures to stop the transshipment of lower-priced steel from other countries. We strongly urge you to grant Canada permanent exemption from U.S. steel tariffs to create market certainty, economic growth and avoid economic harm to our industry on both sides of the border.”

The equipment industry leaders also cautioned the president on NAFTA, encouraging the administration to update the agreement by strengthening trade and investment in the North American market, while maintaining current market access for the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The U.S. maintains a $3 billion a year trade surplus in construction and agricultural equipment with Canada and Mexico.

McGuire and Slater suggested negotiators focus on cross-border labor mobility to help alleviate significant skilled worker shortages in both countries. “Americans and Canadians alike have difficulty crossing the border to perform highly-specialized machinery repairs and servicing,” they wrote. “By including construction equipment service technicians in NAFTA’s International Mobility Program, we can overcome this challenge and have a positive economic impact for our industry.”

The April 18 letter to President Trump can be found here:

About Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) –
AED is an international trade association representing companies involved in the distribution, rental, and support of equipment used in construction, mining, energy, forestry, power generation, agriculture, and industrial applications. AED’s more than 500 member companies, which are predominantly small-medium-sized, family-owned businesses, have over 3,000 locations throughout North America, employ 40,000 people and account for $15 billion in annual sales of construction equipment and related supplies. AED is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois and has an office in Washington, D.C.

About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) –
AEM is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 950 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors worldwide. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices in the world capitals of Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.


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