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Trade war impact on firefighting products
It would appear that we are in a trade war as Canada hits back at U.S. by announcing tariffs on dozens of U.S. products in retaliation for American steel and aluminum tariffs to take effect July 1 on more than 100 U.S. products. Everyone is still waiting to see how this will impact the firefighting industry, but the tit-for-tat exchange of tariffs is likely to raise prices on a variety of consumer goods. Think trucks, SCBA cylinders, nozzles, couplings etc. There is also the unknown effect of U.S. import tariffs from Mexico and globally as many U.S. manufacturers import their raw material or parts to manufacture their products.
Canadian businesses are digesting the industry ramifications of the cross-border tariff war that erupted recently. Canadian substitutes for U.S. goods could get a boost, but that is little comfort for companies where these unique products cannot easily be switched or replaced especially when you consider the NFPA, CSA and other industry certification requirements.
So how much price increase can we expect? The answer is not easy, as many factors effect the final price of a product. For Canadian distributors, the major factor is that the U.S. dollar is quite a bit stronger than the Canadian dollar which impacts our current prices. In the past, trade interventions and protectionist efforts have resulted in U.S. dollar weakness. We can only hope that a weaker U.S. dollar would balance out any increases that added tariffs might cause.
So, the bottom line is, we are in a wait and see situation right now. It is our hope that active negotiations will continue, and the newly implemented trade barriers will be swiftly eliminated.
Yours in Fire Safety,
The A.J. Stone Team