US lifts tariffs on China-made injection molds

Washington — The Donald Trump administration unexpectedly put a hold on steep 25 percent tariffs on injection molds imported from China in late December, a decision that industry observers say is likely to hurt American mold building companies but help U.S. plastics processors.

The announcement from the U.S. Trade Representative means that the 25 percent tariffs on injection molds — imposed in July as part of the first round of $34 billion in duties on Chinese imports — will be suspended for at least one year.

USTR did not explain its decision, but one attorney for the mold making industry said it may be a response to a flood of more than 200 requests from plastic injection molding companies, many in the automotive supply chain, to exempt their specific mold imports.

The USTR announcement is broader than molds, exempting about 30 different categories of imports from the tariffs. Molds are the largest plastics-related category.....Read more Plastics News

While the automotive injection molding sector was vocal in complaining that tariffs would bite them, the U.S. mold making industry has clearly faced its own worsening trade picture in recent years.

The U.S. trade deficit in molds shot up from $1.14 billion in 2015 to $1.53 billion in 2017, the last full year figures are available, according to a recent report from the Washington-based Plastics Industry Association, which said the U.S. imports 3.5 times as many molds as it exports.

The mold trade deficit with China rose from $390 million to $498 million in those three years.

But industry trade data also suggests Canada may be the bigger challenger to the U.S. industry's trade picture.

U.S. mold makers consistently have their largest trade deficits with Canada. It reached $884 million in 2017, and that rose from $690 million in 2015, according to the association's report.


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