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The Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association (WWEMA) says members are experiencing significant price increases, the inability to obtain price quotes from suppliers beyond a few hours or days, the need to renegotiate already bid projects due to significant cost escalations, and potential work slowdowns or stoppage due to an inability to manage pricing risks moving forward.

"This decision has the potential to cause significant interruption in supply chain, bidding, and contract negotiations going forward and impact current and future infrastructure projects," write WWEMA Chair Thacher Worthen, president and CEO of Schreiber LLC; and WWEMA Leg/Reg Committee Chair Deborah LaVelle, president and CEO of Aquarius Technologies in a March 16, 2018, letter to President Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. "We have only to look back at implentation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 which, while well-intended, resulted in many of the actions we see. These include:

  • "A slowdown in current infrastructure projects due to unforeseen cost escalation affecting current fixed-price contracts
  • "Unmanageable risk profiles causing significant equipment and construction price increases resulting in postponement or abandonment of future infrastructure projects due to inadequate funding resulting from escalation of anticipated project budgets
  • "Products omitted from projects due to restrictions."

On March 23, the U.S. began imposing a 10% tariff on aluminum and a 25% tariff on steel coming into the country from all countries except Canada and Mexico. The tariffs apply to specific Harmonized Tariff Schedule Codes.

Click here for another take on how the tariffs may affect public projects.

Access a copy of the letter here.