A big boost for the U.S. HVACR industry

The president has a chance to aid manufacturers by supporting the Kigali Amendment

As a local firefighter and someone who has held public office in New Hampshire for 20 years, I know a little about what matters to voters in our state. We know how to work hard to earn a living and take pride in a job well done. The priority President Trump has placed on standing up for American workers and their values has resonated in communities across the Granite State, and we look forward to even more opportunities for him to deliver.

The booming economy we have seen since President Trump took office is directly improving people’s lives with household incomes on the rise and low unemployment rates. His unrelenting approach in negotiating for America’s best interest in international trade deals is having real and tangible benefits for hard-working Americans here at home.

Fortunately, President Trump has another opportunity before him to bring home another win with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

That’s a mouthful, and it won’t be familiar to most New Hampshire residents, but we ought to support it because it will further strengthen an industry we know well, American manufacturing.

President Reagan crafted the Montreal Protocol as a way to promote and protect America’s leadership in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR). Invented in Buffalo, N.Y., back in 1902, today the industry is responsible for over 2.5 million American jobs, almost 700,000 manufacturing jobs, and $621 billion in economic output per year.

The Kigali Amendment will help maintain this leadership position because it will put American companies in a strong position to continue supplying products that will be in high demand in a global market as it transitions to more environmentally responsible technology.

The amendment is currently before President Trump for his consideration. By supporting it, he will help advance American manufacturing and create as many as 150,000 new jobs, including 33,000 direct manufacturing jobs, as the international market for HVACR is expected to double over the next 10 years as the population grows.

This trade agreement comes with another benefit – it offers a new tool to hold China accountable. Their continued practice of dumping inferior products into our markets must be stopped.

It is a threat that matters to me personally not only as a Rockingham County commissioner, but also as a firefighter in Exeter. My position requires me to be a vigilant steward of the health and safety of others, This is why I am always on the lookout for cheap, inferior and often harmful products that come out of China. Time and again we have heard President Trump call out China’s unfair trading practices, and I stand with him.

It isn’t often we can find such a perfectly aligned opportunity to support American workers and hold China accountable. Now is the time for the president to add another layer to his record of economic success by supporting the Kigali Amendment and sending it to the U.S. Senate for ratification.

Kevin St. James is a firefighter for the town of Exeter and a Rockingham County commissioner.

Categories: Opinion