Steel and aluminum tariffs affect greenhouse building costs

October 23, 2018
Written by GGS Structures (edited)
Earlier this month, president of GGS Structures Inc. Leigh Coulter spoke to the parliamentary Standing Committee on International Trade concerning the impact of tariffs on businesses, companies and workers.

The committee is conducting a study on how tariffs are affecting Canadian businesses and asked Coulter to act as a witness to explain how recent tariffs have affected GGS and other steel and aluminum purchasers as well as to recommend alternative measures. Spokespersons from Essar Steel Algoma Inc. and Tenaris also addressed the committee following Coulter’s presentation.

As one of the largest suppliers to the greenhouse industry in North America that exports globally with almost 50 per cent of its sales in the US, Coulter understands that free trade helps business.

“If steel prices continue to climb, so too does the cost for the customers purchasing greenhouse structures, dairy barns and storage buildings,” Coulter says. “This could force customers to raise the price of their goods which will impact everyday consumers who continue to see a climbing food bill.”

Due to strong domestic relationships and a low Canadian dollar, GGS has continued to purchase a majority of its steel and aluminum extrusions from Canadian manufacturers so GGS has not seen a major impact from steel and aluminum tariffs, but other suppliers with US supply chains did see increases over the summer.

“We need to work toward a good trade agreement that everyone will benefit from,” Coulter says. “With the new USMCA agreement, I understand that the steel and aluminum tariffs will remain in place for the moment which is having a major impact on a lot of businesses.”

Coulter and GGS believes that Canada and the US remain strong partners and that free trade between the two countries benefits everyone on either side of the border.

“Going forward I would like our government to work diligently to remove the tariffs, and under no circumstances should they be expanded to global supply,” Coulter told the committee.

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