Volume 35, Number 12, December 2000


European Union Calls for Increased Tariffs on United States' Flat Glass

An international business group that advocates a decrease in trade barriers between the United States and Europe is calling for tariffs on flat glass exported to Europe. According to a report by the Associated Press, the European Union (EU), members, has requested that the World Trade Organization (WTO) impose tariffs of up to $4 billion on U.S. products--one of which is flat glass--citing the recently-signed U.S. export tax system law as a reason for the increase.

According to the EU, the new export tax system in the U.S. would serve as an illegal subsidy on more than half of U.S. exports and would hurt European companies. The WTO currently is reviewing the U.S. law and contemplating its validity; but that review could take several months.

Although many have protested the EU's actions, several U.S. government officials did not view it as a threat.

"We are bound to have major trade disputes with major trading partners," said Robert Mallett, deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce.

European trade commissioner Pascal Lamy agreed. "The existence of trade disputes is quite normal in view of the huge volume of trans-Atlantic trade," he said.


Visteon Expects Drop in Fourth-Quarter Earnings

The Visteon Corp., based in Dearborn, Mich., has announced that it expects its fourth-quarter earnings to fall far below experts' predictions due to recent production cuts at Ford Motor Co., for which Visteon supplies auto glass. According to a press release issued by the company, its earnings will equal approximately 35 cents per share. In addition, Visteon will record a non-cash impairment write-down of approximately $140 million after taxes, or $1.08 per share, for the fourth-quarter, to decrease the net book value of its glass segment's assets. Visteon says it is unlikely that it will recover fully the recorded value of assets associated with its glass segment.

In order to combat the financial problems it is currently experiencing, Visteon says it is reducing its capital spending, freezing its hiring cycles immediately, eliminating most overtime production and substantially reducing all of its discretionary spending.

In June, Visteon's glass division had signed a letter of intent with Pilkington plc to discuss forming a new glass company, the majority of which would have been owned by Pilkington. However, discussions ceased last month when the two companies mutually agreed to end the talks.

(see related story page 18 November USGlass magazine).

PPG Announces
Boswell's Retirement

After 32 years with the company, L. Blaine Boswell vice president of public affairs for PPG Industries, has announced his retirement effective March 31, 2001. Benjamin R. Fisher Jr., director, corporate marketing, has been elected vice president corporate marketing and communications and will assume responsibility for internal and external communication.

Boswell's career with PPG began in 1966 at the company's subsidiary PPG Canada's automotive glass business where he held human resources management positions at several facilities throughout Ontario. Later he spent two years as human resources manager for a Canadian chemical firm, and returned to PPG in 1971 as director of personnel and industrial relations. He also served as manager of PPG's Oshawa, Ontario, automotive glass plant and vice president of automotive glass fabrication.

In addition, Boswell served as general manager of aircraft products in Pittsburgh, vice president of flat glass at PPG Canada, and in 1983 returned to Pittsburgh to serve as general manager of automotive replacement glass and aircraft products. Before being named vice president, public affairs in 1994, Boswell served as corporate vice president, international and president PPG Europe, PPG Industries International, Paris.

Fisher, who will be assuming Boswell's duties upon retirement, joined PPG in 1995 as director of marketing. He has 17 years experience with H.J. Heinz Co., where he held a variety of marketing posts, including vice president, business development.

DOE Issues Matching Grant of
$1.5 Million to PPG Industries

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a grant of more than$1.5 million to Pittsburgh's PPG industries for its work in the development of process optimization strategies, models and chemical databases for online coatings of float glass. PPG plans to spend a total of $3 million in the research, matching the DOE's contribution.

"The glass industry spends more than $1.3 billion each year on energy for manufacturing processes," said Bill Richardson, secretary of energy. "The development of more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies will save energy and strengthen our national energy