Canadian Tariffs Hit U.S. Fenestration Industry

As expected, Canada slapped retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-produced steel and aluminum and a host of other products on July 1, including a 10-percent surcharge on aluminum doors, door thresholds and windows. The tariffs will add 25 percent to the cost of imported steel products and 10 percent to the cost of imported aluminum products.

The surtaxes are being placed on up to $16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the U.S. That equals the value of 2017 Canadian exports affected by U.S. tariffs that were announced in late May.

“We will not escalate, and we will not back down,” Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) issued a statement denouncing the growing trade conflict between the U.S. and Canada.

“WDMA was critical of the imposition of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, and this new action by Canada further escalates trade tensions between the two nations,” said WDMA CEO Michael O’Brien. “These actions will only lead to additional price increases in the residential and commercial building markets in both countries, hinder progress in the renegotiation of NAFTA and resolving the softwood lumber dispute.”

Aluminum doors and windows represent a healthy portion of the huge cross-border fenestration trade between Canada and the U.S. Jeff Henderson, president of the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), also spoke against these most recent tariffs.

“It is a sad to see the long established supply chains across the U.S./Canadian border being infected with unnecessary and counterproductive tariffs on aluminum. It becomes maddening when we are told this has been done in the name of National Security,” said Henderson. “The AEC continues to maintain the real relief needed in the aluminum industry is from the unrelenting and unchecked overproduction of aluminum products from China.”

According to statistics from Canada’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Canada imported about $108 million in aluminum doors and windows from the U.S. in 2017. That’s about 86 percent of all U.S. global aluminum door and window exports, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). About 17.7 percent of all U.S. global door and window exports were aluminum products, according to the ITA.

Canada exported about $324 million in aluminum doors and windows to the U.S. in 2017, according to statistics from Canada’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

From 2011 to 2016, exports of U.S. aluminum fenestration products grew faster than any other segment with a 3.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during that period, according to the ITA.

According to the ITA, about three-quarters of all Canadian door and window imports come from the United States. About 54 percent of all U.S. door and window exports went to Canada in 2016. That represented about $415 million of total global U.S. fenestration exports of $768 million.

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