The Trump administration increased tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese products Friday, including auto glass and related materials. Days before the announcement, the administration made tweets suggesting that increases would occur prior to scheduled negotiations with China. Among the auto glass and automotive-related materials included are: glass mirrors, glass frit, laminated safety glass and various float glass products.
According to Key Media & Research’s (KMR) analysis of Census Bureau trade data, the U.S. imports close to $300 million in laminated safety glass for vehicles, primarily windshield glass, from China.
“The value of laminated automotive glass imports from China increased nearly 400% from 2002 to 2015 but has leveled out over the past three years,” says KMR director of research Nick St. Denis. “The launch of China-based Fuyao’s U.S. manufacturing operations a few years ago can probably account for this recent slowdown in import growth. But still, China remains the largest exporter of the product to the U.S.”
Ahead of the latest announcement, the administration backed its notion for increases by pointing to forced technology transfers and a lack of intellectual property protections between the U.S. and China. The Chinese government followed by issuing a statement expressing “deep regret” over the latest developments.
“We hope the United States will meet us halfway, and work with us to resolve existing issues through cooperation and consultation,” said China’s Ministry of Commerce in a public statement.
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Commerce focused on the country’s monthly goods deficit with China, which, according to the report, was the lowest it’s been in five years.
In a statement released last week, officials for the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) noted the report as “a clear indication that the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese imports are having a substantial impact on U.S. trade flows.”
The administration’s strategy is working, suggested Michael Stumo, CPA CEO. “This is exactly what we were hoping to see when the president applied tariffs on important industries that have been facing heavily subsidized competition from China’s state-owned enterprises. We expect the next round of tariffs to have a positive effect to improve the U.S. economy and address Beijing’s continuing economic aggression,” he added.
Since last week’s increase, Chinese officials have declared plans to increase tariffs on roughly $60 billion worth of U.S. imported products on June 1, 2019, with no further negotiations scheduled.
When contacted by glassBYTEs for input, several U.S.-based manufacturers and two industry associations declined or failed to comment. Check glassBYTEs.com for additional tariff coverage.
To view the full list of products included in the tariff, click here.