Tariffs on steel and aluminum recently imposed beginning in June of this year are creating a ripple effect throughout the print industry and its customers. Impacted by price spikes on aluminum, printing plates now come at a premium. How will this affect your upcoming map printing project?
Used in the production of lithographic plates essential to popular offset printing processes, aluminum printing plates from high-quality sources in the European Union have seen a stiff price increase in recent weeks, courtesy of a 10% aluminum tariff from the U.S. Though this may seem minimal at-a-glance, aluminum typically comprises about 50% of printing plate construction, resulting in large cost increases as major suppliers pass on this cost as a ‘surcharge’ to American customers. Since the tariffs took effect on June 1, 2018, the pain felt by print shops around the world and the swift reaction to the tariffs has been acute, resulting in double-digit price increases and prompting the entire supply chain to collectively seek an alternative solution.
The negative impact of the tariffs was far from unexpected by the industry. The 2018 Print & Packaging Legislative Summit members, in conjunction with Printing Industries of America (PIA) and print equipment suppliers, warned top U.S. Department of Commerce officials of the potentially excruciating consequences prior to the tariffs taking effect. What is unknown, however, is how long the tariff-related price hikes will take their toll on print shops and their customers as the government works through tariff exclusion requests.
According to the Department of Commerce, product exclusions for aluminum importers, such as printing equipment manufacturers, are available. However, despite the purported ’90-day response,’ buried by an overwhelming volume of exemption applications from a number of industries, deadlines are not being met. As of August 6, the Department received 33,099 exclusion requests, approving 1,428 and denying 702 – leaving tens-of-thousands unanswered and many companies uncertain.
As we work to find a solution to this ongoing issue, Vision appreciates your understanding in a situation that is beyond our control and looks forward to an open dialogue with government officials and our customers as the exclusion process and tariff policy situation unfolds. Please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss these recent changes and their impact to your upcoming project.