AMBA opposes lifting Chinese mold tariffs, cites COVID-19

May 19, 2020

The American Mold Builders Association asked the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on May 7 that it not lift Section 301 tariffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic for plastic injection molds imported from China.

“We believe the sheer number of mold manufacturing establishments in the U.S. clearly counters any arguments made by those requesting an exclusion that no domestic alternative to Chinese mold imports exists,” said AMBA Managing Director Kym Conis. The U.S. has 1,439 mold-building establishments, nearly $500 million in open mold-building capacity and a current utilization rate of 68 percent, he said.

AMBA maintains a public member directory at that identifies 138 U.S. mold building manufacturers as suppliers to the medical industry.

“Even prior to the pandemic, the American mold-building industry had sufficient capacity to meet the demand needed to address pre- and post-coronavirus demand,” said Conis. “As an integral part of the medical device and PPE supply chains, mold builders across the country remain open and continue to produce the vital equipment and devices needed.”  

In July 2018, the U.S. government imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported plastic injection molds from China. It granted a 12-month exclusion from the tariffs for U.S. importers on Dec. 28, 2018. In December 2019, USTR permitted that exclusion to expire and reinstated the 25 percent tariff on the molds.  

AMBA said it looks forward to working with the Trump administration to strengthen manufacturing in the U.S. and to ensure that medical professionals have the PPE and medical devices and equipment needed in the battle against COVID-19.

Established in 1973, AMBA is the largest grassroots organization in the U.S. dedicated only to the mold-manufacturing industry. It is a national non-profit trade association serving more than 200 member companies and more than 50 supplier members. For more information, visit