T R E N D T R A C K E R  
mcollins@buildingia.com  
One Industry, Under Trump?  
Legislative, Regulatory Changes Are Coming Fast  
B Y M I C H A E L C O L L I N S  
ttheAAMASummerConference  
Other pending legislation is aimed switching to domestic suppliers. In  
in Rhode Island in June, our at reducing the regulatory burden of such cases, this tax would repre-  
keynote address tackled the building a home. It is estimated that sent a wealth transfer from manu-  
topic of the challenges and opportu- government regulations add $85,000 facturers and their customers to the  
nities for the building products indus- to the average cost of a single-fam- government.  
A
try under the Trump administration. ily home. While some regulation is  
The tax would also increase the  
Every new presidential administra- needed to ensure an orderly use of cost of doors, windows and other  
tion brings with it various legislative land, such regulations have led to the goods imported from Canada. Since  
themes that play out over the course disappearance of the starter home as our imports from and exports to  
of the new president’s term in office.  
While cynics are quick to point out other tight real estate markets.  
that these themes often fail to live up to Another contentious area where negatively impacting such a valuable  
a housing category in California and Canada are nearly perfectly balanced,  
one could question the wisdom of  
campaign promises, the fact is that the changes already have been made and trading partner. Also, Canada may put  
door and window industry is affected will be buttressed by additional legis- in place retaliatory tariffs of their own  
by each new presidential cycle.  
lation is tightening immigration pol- in response.  
icies. Most of the door and window  
In July, the GOP congressional lead-  
Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Changes  
manufacturers and installers with ership scrapped the border tax pro-  
So what does the Trump adminis- whom we have discussed the topic posal, but it’s possible it could resur-  
tration have in store for us? The first support making it easier for immi- face in the future.  
major category of changes that we grants to work legally in the United  
see coming will be delivered through States. They point out that their work- What’s Ahead?  
executive orders. While President force benefits from an injection of an  
Interestingly, when we asked door  
Obama issued fewer executive orders “immigrant work ethic.” They find it and window executives about the  
than George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or difficult to attract the next generation types of pending legislation under  
Ronald Reagan, he relied on them of factory employees. Too many work- the Trump administration that had  
to implement change without going ers would rather settle for working in them the most concerned, some said  
through Congress. That means that a coffee shop or a retail store—despite there were none. These individuals  
any of those actions taken by his lower pay and benefits.  
are not such die-hard Trump support-  
executive orders can be undone by  
President Trump’s executive orders.  
Trump’s tax proposals include ini- ers that they’re happy with everything  
tiating a destination-based cash-flow he is doing. Rather, they simply see  
One of the most widely discussed tax, or border tax. This would essen- so much opportunity in the current  
recent examples of such an action tially add a tax to imported goods, market that they haven’t heard of any  
was his withdrawal of the U.S. from making them more expensive. The pending legislation that could impact  
the Paris Accords, over a chorus of intent is to encourage the use of com- them that much one way or the other.  
criticism from corporations, state ponents manufactured in the U.S.  
For those who don’t share that opti-  
and municipal governments and Proponents say the tax would mism, getting involved in organiza-  
even members of his own adminis- strengthen the dollar and make U.S. tions that lobby Washington with a  
tration. The most obvious impact of manufacturing more competitive. point of view with which you agree is  
this change on the door and window Large corporations would have less one of the best ways to make yourself  
industry is that we collectively benefit incentive to offshore profits, which heard and help shape the next four  
from initiatives to save energy and would lead to increased investment years and beyond.  
reduce greenhouse gases. We are, after here at home. This could result in  
y
all, the designers and manufacturers U.S. door and window manufacturers Michael Collins is an investment banker  
of the portion of the building enve- finding components they source from and a partner in Building Industry Advisors.  
lope where the greatest gains in ener- overseas more expensive, though pos- He specializes in mergers and acquisitions in  
gy efficiency stand to be made.  
sibly not expensive enough to afford the door and window industry.  
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