Fujifilm North America Corporation’s Graphic Systems Division has announced tariff tax exclusions on its aluminum offset printing plates, currently making it the only major printing plate manufacturer in the U.S. to earn such an exclusion. Fujifilm added that it has worked proactively with industry associations and the U.S. Federal Government to address the unintended consequences of the tariffs applied to the sales of aluminum offset printing plates as an unfair burden on the graphic arts industry. While the U.S. Commerce Department’s Section 232 tariffs on imported aluminum will remain in effect, Fujifilm North America Corporation’s Graphic Systems Division has received exclusions on the majority of the 147 Exclusion requests it filed several months ago, said the OEM. The exclusions are valid until approximately December 2019 – however, they can be revoked by the U.S. Commerce Department at any time.
“Although the recently concluded Federal Government shutdown prevents Fujifilm from receiving further updates as to the status of our remaining Exclusion Requests and the process, timing and amount of refunds Fujifilm can expect on tariffs paid since June 1, 2018, Fujifilm remains committed to crediting plate customer accounts for every dollar of tariff tax that the Commerce Department returns to Fujifilm,” said Todd Zimmerman, Division President of Fujifilm North America Corporation’s Graphic Systems Division. The credits will also apply to Fujifilm customers across Canada as well as in the United States.
At the Fujifilm Manufacturing U.S.A. facility in Greenwood, South Carolina, more than 200 Fujifilm associates contribute to the OEM’s overall printing plate manufacturing process within thermal, processless, and violet plate offerings, engineering 13 different types of printing plates. Once plates are manufactured at the 500-acre complex, they’re stored in an on-site distribution centre with dedicated inventories to meet plate customer needs in a timely manner. The nationwide warehouse distribution system utilized by Fujifilm minimizes handling to avoid potential damage that can be caused by using overseas container shipments. “Our resolve to challenge these tariffs has led to this outcome for our valued customers,” added Zimmerman. “I sincerely appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we worked through this difficult situation. We’ll provide updates on this process as soon as we receive further information from our contacts in the U.S. Commerce Department.”
Editor’s comment and some background. A new North American trade deal may be ready for approval, but the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum continue to be a disaster for our printing industry – both here and south of the border. So the 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminum will remain for now. The tariffs were put into place on March 23, 2018 under the Commerce Department’s rarely used national security authority, known as Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It’s nice to know that the Trump Administration believes that Canada is a national security threat! (Perhaps Trump should begin construction of a border wall across the entire 49th parallel). Mexico and Canada were initially exempt from these tariffs pending the outcome of the renegotiation of NAFTA. However, that exemption was removed on June 1, 2018. Fujifilm deserves full credit for pressuring U.S. lawmakers and putting their customers first. We’ll keep you informed with further announcements right here).
– Tony Curcio