The American Mold Builders Association is asking President Donald Trump's administration to keep 25 percent tariffs on injection molds from China, responding to a handful of petitioners who have asked Washington to suspend them during the coronavirus pandemic.
AMBA said in a May 18 news release it formally petitioned the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to keep the tariffs in place, saying that there's plenty of domestic capacity to build injection molds to meet demand.
"We believe the sheer number of mold manufacturing establishments in the U.S. clearly counters any arguments made by those requesting an exclusion that no domestic alternative to Chinese mold imports exists," said Kym Conis, AMBA managing director.
USTR in late March opened a formal process for companies to petition for exemptions from the tariffs, and two companies wrote in asking that tariffs on molds be suspended.
One was a small mold importer from New York state, and the second was medical diagnostic equipment maker Danaher Corp., which asked for a suspension of tariffs on a mold it imports from China to make parts for a rapid response test kit for COVID-19.
AMBA said the mold building sector currently has a capacity utilization rate of 68 percent, and the more than 1,400 U.S. mold building companies have nearly $500 million in open capacity.
"Even prior to the pandemic, the American mold building industry had sufficient capacity to meet the demand," Conis said.
AMBA noted that the mold building industry has been classified as "essential critical infrastructure" by the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and as a result, many tool building companies have remained open during coronavirus economic lockdowns.