LED Imports from China to be hit with up to 25% Tariff

LED Imports from China to be hit with up to 25% Tariff

(Article from Viribright News     6.29.18)….

The office of the United States Trade Representative confirmed on June 15th, 2018 that the administration will be moving forward with tariffs on Chinese imports. The move follows growing trade hostilities between the US and China as the Trump administration seeks to remedy perceived “unfair” trade practices

From the long list, HS 85414020 – Light Emitting Diodes, and other lighting industry related HS codes will soon face an additional tariff enforced by the Trump administration on Chinese manufactured products. The news will shock the system of many small to mid-sized Chinese manufacturers and U.S. importers as the cost increase will severely handicap their ability to compete in the marketplace. The lighting industry has experienced a surge of new, inexpensive manufacturers seeking to capitalize on the increasing viability of LED technology in the U.S. market and many will see the tariff as ill-timed, to say the least.

An opportunity now shows itself for non-Chinese manufacturers of LED lighting and components. With a 25% cost increase, many retailers, distributors, and lighting importers may seek greener pastures in Viet Nam and Taiwan for suitable alternatives.

The rollout of the new tariff will begin on July 6th, 2018 and continue indefinitely. The discussion will be ongoing as the administration seeks commentary from the public regarding the decision.

Washington, DC – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released a list of products imported from China that will be subject to additional tariffs as part of the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.

On May 29, 2018, President Trump stated that USTR shall announce by June 15 the imposition of an additional duty of 25 percent on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports containing industrially significant technologies, including those related to China’s “Made in China 2025” industrial policy. Today’s action comes after an exhaustive Section 301 investigation in which USTR found that China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory, and burden U.S. commerce.

“We must take strong defensive actions to protect America’s leadership in technology and innovation against the unprecedented threat posed by China’s theft of our intellectual property, the forced transfer of American technology, and its cyber attacks on our computer networks,” said Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “China’s government is aggressively working to undermine America’s high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies like ‘Made in China 2025.’ Technology and innovation are America’s greatest economic assets and President Trump rightfully recognizes that if we want our country to have a prosperous future, we must take a stand now to uphold fair trade and protect American competitiveness.”

The list of products issued today covers 1,102 separate U.S. tariff lines valued at approximately $50 billion in 2018 trade values. This list was compiled based on extensive interagency analysis and a thorough examination of comments and testimony from interested parties. It generally focuses on products from industrial sectors that contribute to or benefit from the “Made in China 2025” industrial policy, which include industries such as aerospace, information and communications technology, robotics, industrial machinery, new materials, and automobiles. The list does not include goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions.

This list of products consists of two sets of U.S tariff lines. The first set contains 818 lines of the original 1,333 lines that were included on the proposed list published on April 6. These lines cover approximately $34 billion worth of imports from China. USTR has determined to impose an additional duty of 25 percent on these 818 product lines after having sought and received views from the public and advice from the appropriate trade advisory committees. Customs and Border Protection will begin to collect the additional duties on July 6, 2018.

The second set contains 284 proposed tariff lines identified by the interagency Section 301 Committee as benefiting from Chinese industrial policies, including the “Made in China 2025” industrial policy. These 284 lines, which cover approximately $16 billion worth of imports from China, will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, including a public hearing. After completion of this process, USTR will issue a final determination on the products from this list that would be subject to the additional duties.

USTR recognizes that some U.S. companies may have an interest in importing items from China that are covered by the additional duties. Accordingly, USTR will soon provide an opportunity for the public to request the exclusion of particular products from the additional duties subject to this action. USTR will issue a notice in the Federal Register with details regarding this process within the next few weeks.

Comments from Ralph:  The Tariffs if they launch as planned will have a big impact on all Asian LED products. Obviously, some more than others depending on how and where they source and assemble products.  One thing for sure is LED fixtures and lamps will go up in price. Some of this may be good to drive out lower end companies.  In any event, FSG and I have the best quality lines and will help you navigate to use the least affected fixtures and ensure you the best value. If you have a project on hold, consider buying now to avoid any increases.  You can reach me here on this site or at ralph.grondo@fsgi.com.


Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Tariffs?

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Tariffs?

By Diane Duenez – April 25, 2018,  LighTED

Three weeks ago, the United States Trade Representative released a list of items from China that will be impacted by the recent tariff hikes. Among them, LED lighting. lightED recently spoke with two U.S. manufacturers about possible adjustments they will have to make.

According to Jian Ni, CEO for Forest Lighting, LED lamps and luminaries offered by Forest Lighting are not included in the proposed tariff list. This means their products will not be impacted by the proposed tariffs.

However, LEDVANCE isn’t as certain they won’t face some sort of fall-out. “We are monitoring the situation and working closely with NEMA to ensure that our customers’ best interests are represented,” says Matt McCarron, Vice President of Industrial Commercial Channel. “Some components used in our SYLVANIA LED lamps produced here in the United States are included in the proposed tariffs, but these are just proposed and not a certainty.”

However, McCarron says tariff or no tariff, their LED portfolio offers distributors a unique selling point since it’s made by U.S. workers.

“Rather than wait for lamps from overseas, we can respond quicker with these products and be agiler.  Inventory issues can be minimized, and distributors can have less money tied up in inventory.  Since the products are manufactured in America with the U.S. and global parts, they qualify for BAA (COTS item) and TAA compliant projects, opening the door to more opportunities.”

The tariff isn’t slowing either company. In fact, Ni says they are not planning any changes to their current business model. He says the proposed tariffs appear to be a non-factor in the plans for rapid growth.

Both companies agree that continued conversations with the marketplace will not only improve performance but increase new product introductions.

In fact, the tariff may create opportunities. One target in particular for LEDVANCE: government contracts.

“Our distributors can count on our unique locally-produced LED portfolio to take advantage of the huge market for government contracts,” says McCarron. “As mentioned, since the products are manufactured in America with U.S. and global parts, they are uniquely qualified for BAA (COTS item) and TAA compliant projects.  A major part of the lamps is the glass from our Kentucky factory.  This advancement is not just creating more advanced U.S. factories, it is also creating a more advanced U.S. workforce.”

While prices may go up slightly from imported steel and aluminum used in most LED luminaries and lamps manufactured in the US, Ni points out that the slight increase should not be the only element of buying decision. “Performance, life, color, efficacy, and system integration and customer service ultimately make up the purchasing criteria for educated lighting buyers and users.”

Comments by Ralph:  Manufacturers will do whatever they can to minimize the effects of the tariffs. Companies like Ledvance that have some parts manufactured here will be not hurt as much. That said, much of the steel, aluminum and LED chips will be impacted which will certainly drive costs up.  If your looking to purchase fixtures and or lamps; do so now to avoid increases.  Contact me for Ledvance and other quality LED fixture and lamp company pricing. See more articles and sign up for my newsletter at click here.


Welcome to their World

Welcome to their World

Eight simple rules for lighting specifiers when they sit down with the folks in IT  by Scott Ziegenfus   LD & A Magazine June 2018

Comments by Ralph:   We hear smart lighting and IOT connected lighting very often these days. Here are some good tips for working with company IT departments to make for a smoother process.  Consider reaching out to me for help as we have a dedicated Control Group and can help with fixtures and controls.

Insert the term “intelligent building” into a Google search and you’ll receive more than 746,000 results. There’s no shortage of opinions, reports and forecasts on the promise of using a single infrastructure between building systems to save on resources and promote data exchange. Lighting’s contribution to this promise is the “networked lighting control system.”

Loosely defined, the networked lighting control system will have some level of distributed intelligence to control lights and provide feedback of various pieces of information for a multitude of business applications. This includes building applications such as energy management, asset management, space management, health and wellness, and more.

To this end, the prevailing and logical thought is to place all the building’s environmental and business systems on the same network infrastructure. Logic says that same network infrastructure already exists within the architecture of the corporate Intranet, which is under the administration and management of the corporate IT department.

I’ve worked with hundreds of corporate and institutional IT departments in my career, and I’ve identified a common thread among them all: their primary responsibility is to keep the network up and running, and anything that can possibly jeopardize the network cannot be allowed.

What does this mean for the lighting professional? To ignore the IT department could leave you not only off the network, but also off the project.

It is critical to understand the mentality of the IT department. It’s a thankless job. The department doesn’t receive any praise for keeping the network running, but all hell breaks loose if it’s not. Anything that can possibly jeopardize a functional network is highly scrutinized. Hardware, bandwidth, protocols, security, ports, services and applications are just some of the categories that an IT department worries can affect the corporate network.

For the lighting professional this is uncharted territory. Since we can’t ignore the IT department, I figured it would be helpful to share what I’ve learned through the years about establishing a positive working relationship with them to help specifiers successfully install connected lighting solutions:

1. The earlier you talk to the IT department the better.
I’d suggest you contact the IT department before the equipment arrives on-site to be installed. You need to establish a baseline understanding of what IT requires to live on their network. Be ready to discuss items like penetration testing, protocol reviews and security reviews. Establishing a baseline understanding of these items takes time.

2. Don’t assume that since you talked to one IT admin, you’re covered.
Someone once told me, “IT departments are like snowflakes; no two are the same.” Some have one or two people while others may have a specialist for every aspect. Just because you are in agreement with the VP of IT doesn’t mean you’re covered. Hypothetically, you could end up working with applications for your server topology, security for any vulnerability, technical services for your VLAN or IP addressing, or information management for your application access. Understand the IT department’s organizational structure and ask who should be included in these discussions to avoid any corporate policy issues down the road.

3. Don’t dictate, collaborate.
Don’t assume you are going to tell an IT department how your system goes on their network. Rather, you need to simply explain what your system IT properties are and let the corporate IT department figure it out. The best way to get off to a bad start is to tell them how you want their network to adhere to your system needs. It is important here to have good documentation that explains the IT properties for all aspects of your system: security, ports, physical requirements, addressing, etc. Additionally, a good network diagram is always appreciated.

4. The IT department does not care about items not on their network.
Don’t waste their time talking about daylight sensors that are open loop and use a 0-10-V signal. This not only clouds the issue, but it also tells IT you don’t understand what is important to them. If they ask for a network diagram, don’t send a one-line, reflective ceiling plan or architectural diagram you would share with an electrical contractor. If they ask for your system properties, don’t send them your project submittal. They have zero interest in the common documents important in our industry.

5. Don’t assume your system is not under the direction of IT.
The IT administration will tell you if you are under their policy and procedures. Don’t think you are immune because you are only using the fiber between buildings, or only need remote access, or only need Wi-Fi for applications. Even if your networked lighting control system is isolated from the building’s Intranet, you still want to engage and explain your network architecture.

6. If they understand your architecture they can fill the security gaps.
IT departments understand nothing is perfectly secure, and the more they know about how your system works (ports and protocols) and any security measures you employ, the better they can plan to fill any gaps with digital separations and isolations like VLANs or firewalls.

7. Keep the IT department informed along the way.
Starting with preconstruction and all through the installation phase, keep the updates constant and make sure they understand when you expect you will need access, hardware, cabling, etc.

8. Talk to IT in their language.
I cannot overstate how often a basic networking knowledge comes in handy. I am not talking about getting an IT degree, but just some basic knowledge of the OSI model will go a long way. The IT department will talk to you very differently when you say you have a “layer 2 managed network switch” then if you simply say “network switch.” That is a good rule for anyone working on the customer side of networked lighting controls. Find out who can support you when the conversation becomes very in-depth, like a manufacturer, manufacturer’s representative, or someone in the engineering or design firm.

Every major corporation and institution relies on its network, and this allots the IT department a tremendous amount of authority as to what system does and doesn’t get installed. All IT has to say to upper management is, “If xyz system goes on the network I can’t guarantee reliability.” One day of the network being “down” can easily cost a company way more than the total cost of any networked lighting control system. Once an IT department gets comfortable with a system and manufacturer, however, they don’t want to change, and they can hold your spec better than any design team. It does not matter who is cheaper if the IT department says, “Well, we know xyz system has no issues on our network, but if you substitute abc system we just can’t guarantee the network.” That is better than any feature used for a spec lock.

Here’s the bottom line: When IT is brought into the discussion early, they feel you understand their concerns, you have some idea of their industry through proper documentation and knowledgeable communications, and they become easy to work with and will help you in connecting your networked lighting control system. It might be intimidating at first, but if you follow the steps above you will be successful


General Electric recalls LED lamps due to shock and electrocution hazard

General Electric recalls LED lamps due to shock and electrocution hazard

Source: by Sam O’Toole | Newschannel 3 WWMT

General Electric has recalled LED tube lamps exclusively sold a Lowe’s due to shock and electrocution hazard.

The recall involves GE Lighting’s two-pack tube lamps sold from approximately November 2017 through April 2018. The lamps are most often used in garages, basements, workshops and utility rooms.

The GE logo and model information is printed on a label near the tube’s base.

Consumers should immediately contact GE Lighting for instructions on safely removing the LED tube lamps. GE Lighting is also offering a refund in the form of a $17 gift card.

Consumers should make sure the light switch is “off” before attempting to change the LED tube lamps.

No injuries or incidents have been reported.

Comments:  LED failures can happen and I have always said to be careful of lighting purchased in home centers.  GE is a fine line and mistakes happen; good they caught it.  That said: In general, be careful about products purchased in a home center or big box store as far too often they are the lowest quality that a manufacturer offers.