The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) said it applauds U.S. President Bush's decision to repeal the steel tariffs, implemented under section 201 of the Trade Act, 20 months ago. AHAM testified on behalf of its members in June before the International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding the tariffs on imported steel and their effect on the home appliance industry.
AHAM president, Joseph M. McGuire stated, "This decision was needed to maintain excellent quality and consumer value for home appliances produced in the U.S. and importantly, to keep home appliance manufacturing jobs on U.S. soil. This decision is commended by the U.S. home appliance industry."
AHAM members experienced increased costs of steel products and often times difficulties in obtaining quality steel from domestic steel producers. Several AHAM members have seen purchase price increases from 17 to 30 percent from pre-April 2002 levels. Increases from a year ago in steel prices on the spot market have averaged more than 37 percent. This dramatic increase has impacted appliance production, and in some cases, changed product assembly schedules, AHAM said.
Further, independent studies of the tariff's effects highlight the significant numbers of jobs lost as a result of the tariffs, according to AHAM. The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition (CITAC) has estimated that more than 200,000 Americans lost their jobs as a result of higher steel prices in 2002, resulting in more than U.S. $4 billion in lost wages.
AHAM members produce more than 94 percent of the appliances shipped for sale each year within the U.S. and consume nearly 3 million tons of steel per year, most of which is hot- and cold-rolled and galvanized, supplied by domestic companies.
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