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Various Construction-Related Products Targeted for Tariffs

Share Your Views on Items of Concern with AGC
On April 3, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office released a proposed list of 1,333 Chinese products subject to additional 25 percent tariffs. The list includes items that could negatively impact the American construction industry and includes but is not limited to: concrete or mortar mixers, electric signaling items for traffic or safety control, elevators and conveyors, various metal piping, tower cranes, tunneling machinery, and water pumps. AGC encourages contractors to review the list and share with AGC any items of particular concern. U.S. companies have until May 11 to comment on the proposed product list.
Totaling $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, the target list is designed to close the United States’ $375 billion goods deficit with China and stems from a seven month-long Section 301 investigation into China’s state-directed practice of forced technology transfers and intellectual property theft. The U.S. tariff announcement came just one day after China announced its own tariffs on $3 billion worth of American goods, targeting 128 products (15 percent duty on 120 products including fruits, wine, nuts, and steel pipes; 20 percent duty on eight products including recycled aluminum and pork) in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs. On April 4, China retaliated once again, issuing its own additional 25 percent tariffs on a list of 106 American products valued at $50 billion.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has until August 18 to finalize the list, after which President Trump legally has 180 days to impose the finalized tariffs.
For more information, contact Collin Janich at [email protected] or (703) 837-5435.

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State and Cities Blacklisting Border Wall Contractors

Congress Urges DOJ to Act
On March 29, more than two dozen members of Congress called on the U.S. Department of Justice to take action against the discrimination (blacklisting) of private companies that work or supply services for the construction of the border wall.  Some two dozen cities and states have adopted or are considering legislation discriminating against companies—designers, prime contractors, subcontractors and suppliers—that work on or support construction of the border wall.  In some cases, legislation would bar the city or state from contracting with those firms entirely and require their public pension firms to divest from those companies.
AGC has longed voiced its concern that, unless checked, these blacklisting efforts will embolden state and local officials to obstruct the federal government’s lawful functions whenever it may serve their narrow political interests.  Similarly, discriminatory measures could easily multiply, as state and local officials seek to advance their political careers at the expense of federal priorities.  Threatened by discrimination and without assurance that the DOJ will take a stand on such legislation, private companies will understandably hesitate to work in the federal marketplace.
To date, neither the Trump administration nor Congress has asserted the federal government’s constitutional prerogative to prohibit states or localities from thwarting this federal government national security initiative. This inaction not only undermines President Trump and Congress’s commitment to securing our borders, but also puts federal contractors at risk of unlawful discrimination.
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at [email protected] or (703) 837-5368.

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TCC Fly-In May 15-16 Registration Open

Hotel Deadline April 20
The 17th Annual Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) Legislative Fly-In, scheduled for May 15-16, 2018 is well-timed to discuss with your senators and Representative the need for infrastructure investment and fixing the Highway Trust Fund.  With the Trump Administration infrastructure plan on the table and Congressional committees holding hearings, now is the time to push your congressional delegation to keep the momentum going. Registration is now open
AGC has scheduled meetings with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) representatives on Tuesday (May 15) morning followed by a special Washington briefing luncheon. At the TCC legislative briefing, key Congressional and Administration leaders will give their outlook for accomplishing an infrastructure investment measure this Congress. You will receive educational briefing materials on key industry priorities for your use in meeting with your congressional delegation. The Fly-In's reception will also provide you an opportunity to network with your industry peers and members of Congress, as well as their staff.
The schedule is as follows:
Tuesday- May 15, 2018
9:30 AM- 11:00 AM          AGC-FHWA Meeting
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM        AGC Washington Issues Briefing (Lunch Included)
2:30 PM – 5:00 PM          TCC Legislative Briefing
6:00 PM -                          TCC Capitol Hill reception
Wednesday- May 16, 2018
9:00 AM – Rest of Day     Hill Visits
This year's meeting will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 1000 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. The room cut-off date is April 20 and rooms sell out quickly. Make your reservations now directly with the Grand Hyatt by calling 888-421-1442. Mention the group name TCC Fly-In for the $329 per night room rate.
For more information, contact Brian Deery at [email protected].

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Countries Win Last-Hour Tariff Exemptions, But Only Temporarily

AGC Seeking Pricing Data to Analyze Impact on Construction Industry
On March 23, before the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports went into full effect, President Trump signed proclamations temporarily exempting seven U.S. allies and trading partners. It is not yet clear what effects specific country exemptions are having—or may have—on the construction industry, but AGC is asking member companies to assist in that process by forwarding pricing data, anecdotes, and even executives’ quotes to AGC’s Chief Economist Ken Simonson.
The exempted nations include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union (including the U.K.), Mexico and South Korea. The temporary exclusions are scheduled to expire May 1, “pending discussions of satisfactory long-term alternative means to address the threatened impairment to US national security,” according to the White House.
Japan, a key U.S. ally, was notably absent from the list overseen by the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and assembled based on proof of national security relevance, intense country lobbying, and on-going trade deals. On March 27, a senior administration figure noted that countries seeking a relief from the tariffs could submit to “quotas or other restrictions,” a nod to South Korea’s recent agreement to voluntarily restrict its steel exports by 30 percent of its past three-year average. USTR has utilized voluntary export restraints (VERs) in past bilateral negotiations, namely in the early 1980s when Japan agreed to limit passenger automobile exports to the U.S., and many analysts expect VERs to play a revived role in future steel and aluminum tariff negotiations.
For more information, contact Collin Janich at [email protected].

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Federal Construction Agencies to Discuss How to Spend Over $50 Billion on Projects

AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference; May 1-3 in Pentagon City, VA.
With more than $50 billion enacted for direct federal construction agencies as part of the FY 2018 government funding bill, contractors attending the AGC Federal Contractors Conference will have the first opportunity to hear from eight major construction agencies about projects they plan to fund and solicitations they plan to issue before September 30 and beyond. Register today for this event so your competition doesn’t get a jump on you and the next solicitation to hit the street.
Interested, but want to know more about possible topics of discussion? Click on the agency below to see our draft agendas for their session:
Army Corps of Engineers
Naval Facility Engineering Command
General Services Administration
Department of Veterans Affairs
Small Business Administration
Air Force Civil Engineer Center
Natural Resources Conservation Service
International Construction
Bureau of Reclamation
Again, to register for AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference, click here.
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at [email protected].

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Feds to Invest $139 Billion in Construction for FY 2018

How Much Funding will go to Your Construction Markets?
At AGC’s urging, Congress invested $18.5 billion (15 percent) more in FY 2018 federal construction accounts than FY 2017 as part of the federal government funding bill enacted March 23. The funding measure allocates a total of $139 billion for a wide range of construction investment (click here for a breakdown of federal construction accounts).  This funding comes in addition to the at least $21 billion (see chart here) allocated for disaster aid construction projects enacted as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act in February.
About half of that $139 billion figure—$69 billion—goes to highway and transportation construction; $10 billion for various military construction accounts and $6 billion for Army Corps Civil Works programs; $7 billion for low-income housing and development programs; and $4 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Congress also funded $1.6 billion for pre-Trump administration border fence projects. The bill language essentially bars the president from using the funds toward construction of a border wall or using the wall prototypes constructed outside of San Diego.
To find state and project specific funding information for direct federal agency projects (not state departments of transportation projects), construction contractors can turn to the various explanatory statements—listed here—of the various parts of the 2,232 page funding bill. Within those explanatory texts is a wealth of information detailing project specific funding, often by state.
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at [email protected]

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Safety Management Training Course | April 4 - 6, 2018 | Pawtucket, RI

The AGC Safety Management Training Course provides attendees three days of training on the basic skills needed to manage a company safety program in the construction industry.
Held just a few times per year at select locations around the country, the program builds on Focus Four training and prepares attendees to manage key safety issues on the job site and provides techniques for delivering basic safety training to field personnel.
Participants will receive intensive instruction and training that will allow them to return to their firms with readily applicable new skills to positively impact their company’s safety and health program.
For more information, click here.

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Commerce Department Publishes Exclusion Process Procedures for Steel and Aluminum Products

AGC Joins Coalition to Help Mitigate Effects of Tariffs on the Construction Industry
On March 19, the Department of Commerce published its exclusion process procedures (interim final rule) for steel and aluminum tariffs. The Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security will collect comments on the interim final rule until May 18, and the Bureau’s website provides more information about the steel and aluminum exclusion/objection process, as well as links to downloadable forms. Companies will need to consider both commenting on the rule (so as to address issues with the Department’s procedures) and submitting exclusions requests in a prompt fashion. The new duties go into effect on March 23.
At present, there is still no published guidance for the country exemption process, but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer indicated to the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday that the process will likely be concluded by the end of April. Aside from Canada and Mexico – which are currently exempted due to NAFTA renegotiations – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, and the EU will also be exempted for now.
Since President Trump signed the steel and aluminum tariffs, AGC has joined the National Foreign Trade Council’s Alliance for Competitive Steel and Aluminum Trade (ACSAT), the premier coalition working collectively to mitigate the tariffs’ effects on a range of American industries. As the sole representative of the construction industry within the Coalition, AGC will be leveraging our engaged membership to collect company specific data, executives’ quotes, and company anecdotes to demonstrate the tariff’s impact on construction so that we can advocate effectively before members of Congress. If your company would like to provide this information, please forward to AGC’s Chief Economist, Ken Simonson. AGC is diligently monitoring developments in this space and is committed to helping members navigate this period of confusion.
For more information, contact Collin Janich at [email protected].

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Good News for Direct Federal Contractors in FY 2018 Funding Bill

The FY 2018 federal government funding bill provides good news for direct federal contractors.  Specifically, Army, Navy and Air Force military construction accounts would each see increases under the proposal compared to the previous fiscal year. The funding bill provides a total of $10.1 billion – an increase of $2.4 billion or roughly a 31 percent – for military construction over FY 2017 levels.  The bill also provides $1.4 billion to fund construction and maintenance for military family housing.
Turning to the Army Corps’ Civil Works Program, the funding bill would provide $6.83 billion, an increase of $789 million from FY 2017 appropriated funding, and a 36 percent increase above the president’s FY 2018 budget request.  The Construction account is allocated $2.085 billion, more than a doubling the president’s budget request. Additionally, the bill would allot $1.4 billion in funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund and full use of estimated annual revenues from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, with at least $399 million for use on navigation projects in FY 2018.
Overall, construction funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) remain flat, slightly below FY 2017 levels.  The VA’s major and minor construction accounts would receive $855 million--$512 million for major construction and $343 million for minor construction.  General Services Administration receives roughly $700 million for the agency’s construction accounts.
For more information, contact Jordan Howard at [email protected]

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Transportation Funding Boosted in FY 2018 Funding Bill

The FY 2018 federal government funding bill includes AGC-backed increases in investment for highway, transit and aviation construction. The bill largely provides funding at FAST Act-authorized levels from the Highway Trust Fund. In addition, the bill appropriates $4.4 billion from the general fund for programs that already receive trust fund dollars.
The agreement includes funding as follows:

  • Fully funds FAST Act-authorized funding for the Federal-aid highway program, an increase of $900 million over FY 2017.

  • An additional $2.565 billion for federal-aid highway funding (from the general fund). The biggest portion of this amount—$1.98 billion—will be distributed to states only for highway and bridge projects under the existing formula; $225 million goes to a new bridge program for rural states (almost half of the states qualify); $15.8 million is for Puerto Rico Highways; $4.2 million goes to other territories; and $300 million for Federal and tribal lands.

  • $1.5 billion for TIGER Grant Program, which was funded at $500 million in FY 2017.

  • Fully funds FAST Act-authorized funding of $9.733 billion for mass transit formula grants, signifying no increase from the FY 2017 level.

  • An additional $834 million from the general fund for transit formula grants.

  • Provides $2.645 billion in funding for the transit New Start Capital Grant program, which funds ongoing transit projects with full funding grant agreements. An additional $232 million is provided for full funding grant agreements for new transit projects.

  • $4.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, an increase of $1 billion from FY 2017.

  • $25 million in additional funds for the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program for credit subsidies.

The bill does not include an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) from the current cap of $4.50. The PFC, levied on airline tickets, is used for airport capital construction projects. The Senate appropriations bill had proposed an increase of $4.00 in the cap.
For more information, contact Brian Deery at [email protected].

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