Statement on Proposed $50B In Chinese Tariffs

Statement on Proposed $50B In Chinese Tariffs

Posted April 20, 2018

Ft. Washington, PA. – Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC)’s Executive Director, Ryan Kiscaden, released the following statement regarding President Trump’s announcement on $50 billion worth of Chinese tariffs, which include Automatic Thermostats (90321000) at 25%: 

“The administration’s action will hurt the speed at which mercury-containing thermostats become waste.  The recycling of mercury-containing thermostats is directly tied to new thermostat sales.  As the new unit is installed it replaces that which was on the wall.  Often times, old thermostats stay in service until the entire HVAC system is replaced or consumers wish to upgrade their thermostat.  Unfortunately, these proposed tariffs will lead to higher consumer prices for thermostats and threatens the hockey stick growth of the smart thermostat segment for new thermostats[1].” 

“There are unintended consequences for the collection program when thermostat replacement demand is curtailed.  In some states, TRC has state-required numerical collection targets.  When an externality such as higher prices for finished goods are introduced, it has a double whammy effect for thermostat manufacturers.  They will not be able to sell new units at the same pace because of consumer price sensitivity and subsequently will be unable to hit collection targets as old units stay in service longer.  If the federal government takes this action it will affect the speed at which utility driven energy efficiency programs and the installing HVAC industry replace thermostats.  All tariffed consumer goods are subject to some price sensitivity and thermostats are no different than any other consumer good.” 

“It’s my hope that the Trump administration will reconsider these proposed tariffs and pursue policies that enhance the United States competitiveness rather than reduce access to foreign markets.  Let us all hope that President Trump’s negotiating tactic to get China to the table is successful and that these tariffs are subsequently rescinded.” 


Since its inception in 1998, the Thermostat Recycling Corporation has facilitated and managed the collection and proper disposal of mercury-containing thermostats all over America.  We are proud of the fact that today more than 3,600 businesses and communities in 48 states are enrolled in our program. Since our founding, we have collected over 2.4 million mercury-containing thermostats and kept 11 tons of mercury out of the nation’s waste streams. 

[1] According to a recent research report from Parks Associates, smart thermostat ownership has more than doubled in recent years, from 5% in 2014 to 13% in 2017. 

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