Tariffs Affecting the Mold Building Industry

In July 2018, the U.S. implemented a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, including molds and mold bases. This tariff was subsequently suspended at the end of December, a decision that is ultimately hurting U.S. mold builders as it is now significantly cheaper to source and build tools in China. This means that in the U.S., mold shops are forced to reduce their workforces and, in some cases, close their doors. 

The mold building industry is vital to the U.S. economy - molds are a critical part of tooling and tooling is essential for the manufacturing of all durable goods in the country. For this reason, the American Mold Builders Association has engaged with Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm, The Franklin Partnership, to speak for the industry in the nation's capital and help policymakers make informed decisions about imposing tariffs on imported plastic injection molds from China. Together, these organizations will lobby the White House, Congress and policymakers to support U.S. manufacturers against low-cost imports from China. 

To visit AMBA's members-only tariff updates, resources and any current call-to-action, visit here.

China Mold Tariff Facts

On July 6, 2018, the U.S. government implemented a 25% tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports (Tranche 1), including molds and mold bases. The tariff was subsequently suspended in December 2018. 

Why was the tariff lifted? The tariff was lifted because it was cited that there was a lack of U.S. mold shop capacity. This is inaccurate, as U.S. mold capacity in 2018 ranged from a high of 81% to a low of 77%, demonstrating that capacity is not the issue.

Key Issues 

Dumping - Chinese-owned shops sell molds to U.S. manufacturers up to 40% below the cost of molds produced in a domestic shop.

Progressive Payments - Most Chinese-owned shops receive progressive payment terms from U.S. manufacturers with 90% of the tooling cost paid prior to tool shipment. This compares sharply with the 55% of U.S.-based mold builders receiving progressive payments.

Intellectual Property Infringement - The mold is the science behind the part. By quoting molds in China, U.S. companies are sending detailed drawings of parts/products, creating an opportunity for IP infringement.

Mold Builder Call to Action - Timeline and Result

Nov. 8, 2019 - AMBA submits call-to-action to its members to file comments, explaining why they were for or against the exclusion of tariffs on Chinse plastic injection molds

Nov. 29, 2019 - The AMBA announces its formal comment filing its position against the exclusion of tariffs 

Nov. 30, 2019 - The deadline arrives to file any formal comment for or against the exclusion of tariffs

Dec. 23, 2019 - Following the filling of comments from more than 150 American mold builders, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published formal notice that it would not extend the exclusion from 25 percent tariffs for Chinese plastic injection molds granted on Dec. 28, 2018.

May 7, 2020 - The AMBA filed formal comments with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) asking that they not lift Section 301 tariffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic for HTS 8480.71.8045, plastic injection molds imported from China. 

September 16, 2020 - The AMBA filed format comments with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on China's compliance with its WTO commitments.

To see past and current messaging, documents to submit, press releases, publicity and more, visit this members-only tariff page

Interested in having your voice heard regarding the tariff issue? Email or call the AMBA offices at 317.436.3102.