Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) expresses concern over the new steel and aluminum tariffs announced this week, in that they may have detrimental impact on demand for HVACR products.

According to a survey of HARDI members conducted by the HARDI Sheet Metal & Air Handling Committee which concluded on March 7, the current overall domestic production capacity of steel and aluminum HVACR products cannot alone meet current demand of the domestic market.

The American steel and aluminum industries also cannot currently make certain materials such as the low-gauge foil required to make FSK (Foil-Scrim-Kraft) facings used on essential duct-insulating products such as duct board and duct wrap. Therefore, our concern is that an increase in aggregate costs brought by the new tariffs may also result in a decrease in demand for HVACR products further along the supply chain.

HARDI does not currently know how these tariffs will affect the demand of finished HVACR products in terms of quantified metrics, but going forward HARDI intends to quantify this impact through closely monitoring its benchmarking and statistical programs.

"The immediate impact of these new tariffs will be felt first by our suppliers," HARDI CEO Talbot Gee said. "They have HARDI's full support so long as the interests of and benefits to the rest of the channel are maintained.

"The HARDI Sheet Metal & Air Handling Committee has been integral in working with members for our analysis of the potential impact of these new tariffs. We are confident in their ability to give continued, accurate assessments of the effects on our industry as this new policy is implemented."