On March 23, 2018, the American government placed a 10 percent tariff on aluminium – and a 25 percent tariff on steel – imported into the country, leaving Canadians wondering what exactly this means for our industries, our economy and for us as consumers. While experts have projected price increases on everything from imported beer to cars, those in the building industry are trying to figure out how the 10 percent tariff will impact aluminium building materials.
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Aluminium and Buildings
The building industry has long used aluminium in instances where lightness and corrosion resistance are required. During the mid 20th century, aluminium – previously used in everyday items like eyeglass frames and foil – became an integral building material, both as a construction and a finishing material. One of the most famous uses of aluminium in the building industry is the Empire State Building, the walls of which are covered in aluminium and 23 karat gold.
Tariffs and Revenue
While the tariffs are projected to cause an estimated $3.2 billion annual loss for Canada’s aluminium and steel industries, experts note that this revenue change would only trigger 0.2-0.3 percent GDP reduction. Furthermore, Canadian stock markets are projected to remain unaffected. But the tariffs do indeed impact Canadians. Aside from price increases in items such as appliances, electrical equipment, furniture, machinery and vehicles, the tariffs also mean uncertainty for those who work in the aluminium industry.
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A Ripple Effect
While it’s expected that Canada’s aluminium industry to take a hit, it is projected that the largest hit of all will be to the United States’s job market. Even though the tariffs were put in place to create steel and aluminium jobs in the US, a report released by a trade and economic firm showed that the country’s services sector could lose 375,000 jobs. As noted by one of the report’s authors, the tariffs create a ripple effect and for every job created, sixteen could be lost. And as soon as individuals start losing jobs, they stop using services.
Yet even with all the uncertainty – both here and on the other side of the border, Canada’s aluminium industry is still a thriving and sustainable force. There are approximately 8,300 jobs in Canada’s aluminium sector with Canada sitting as the fourth largest aluminium producer in the world. Annually, we produce 3.2 million tons of primary aluminium from nine plants in Quebec and one in British Columbia. And, because Canada’s producers mainly use hydroelectricity and the latest generation of technologies, we have the lowest carbon footprint compared to other aluminium producers across the globe.
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We’ve Got You Covered
With increasing material prices, it’s more important than ever that the finish you choose for your building projects be affordable and durable. Our powder coating process allows for a seamless finish on a variety of materials – aluminium included. Thanks to the efficiency of our patented Paintline production line, we are able to keep our prices low. Plus, the longevity of a powder-coated substrate means no extra dollars spent on upkeep. We even have a 15 year warranty to keep you covered – no matter what.