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PIA Launches Grassroots Call to Action on Aluminum Tariffs; Urges Congress to Relay Print Industry Concerns

Posted Thursday, July 26, 2018 by Jules VanSant.

PIA news

Pittsburgh, PA — Printing Industries of America (PIA) launched a grassroots call to action in response to industry impacts triggered by Section 232 Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum announced by the Trump Administration on June 1, 2018. PIA members impacted by price spikes on aluminum printing plates are urged to share their stories with Congress.

Aluminum is used in the production of lithographic printing plates and the highest quality sources of this input are countries in the European Union, which are subject to the tariff. This input is generally not available for print equipment manufacturing companies to source domestically. Within the past three weeks, major suppliers of aluminum printing plates in the U.S. announced price increases and/or “surcharges” as pass-through costs to customers.

“Since President Trump announced Section 232 tariffs on June 1, 2018, the reaction by suppliers in our industry—and the pain felt by many PIA member companies—has been swift,” said Michael Makin, President and CEO of PIA. “Three major aluminum plate suppliers pointed directly to the aluminum tariff as a reason for these double-digit percentage price increases, demonstrating the need for the entire supply chain to collectively advocate for a solution.”

“This negative impact was predictable. At the 2018 Print & Packaging Legislative Summit, PIA and a delegation of print equipment suppliers met with top-level Department of Commerce officials to warn of the painful consequences coming down the road due to the aluminum tariff,” said Makin. “Unfortunately, we see now that such concern was warranted and we are facing an uncertain reality in terms of how long such tariff-related price hikes will be in effect.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce maintains a product exclusion process that allows importers of aluminum, such as printing equipment manufacturers, to apply for exemptions and receive a response within 90 days. However, the process has been overwhelmed by a huge volume of applications from various industries, and deadlines are not being met. The U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade held a hearing today to examine the problems associated with the product exclusion process; PIA submitted a letter for the record as part of this hearing.

“If your company is impacted by Section 232 tariffs, sharing your tangible example with lawmakers is vital to help the Trump Administration and Congress understand the real-life impact of trade policy on the printing and graphic communications industry,” said Makin. “PIA stands ready to work with Congress to advocate solutions that both combat unfair trade practices and avoid harming printing companies.”