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Amid tariff talk, Westport manufacturer reinvests in China

August 21, 2018

A decade after starting construction of a Changzhou plant to produce aerial lifts for the China market, Terex is bolstering the Changzhou facility at a total investment of $100 million.

Terex has its headquarters in Westport producing cranes, lifts, gravel crushers and other heavy equipment. Terex sales of aerial platforms totaled $751 million in the second quarter, a 27 percent gain from a year ago, with operating profits up by two thirds to $101 million.

Terex uses the Changzhou, China facility to build Genie aerial work platforms and other components and assemblies, with the factory’s output increasing more than 50 percent annually on average. Terex makes aerial work platforms as well in Washington state and South Carolina, as well as Italy.

Speaking to analysts in early August, Terex CEO John Garrison referenced the impact of tariffs on the company’s decisions on where to manufacture the products it sells, with the Trump administration having engaged China in multiple rounds of trade brinksmanship this year on the issue.

“We are being very aggressive in taking action to limit the impact of the ... tariffs,” Garrison said. “Clearly, the greater impact is on our (aerial work platforms) business, but the global nature of the business really allows us to mitigate large portions of the tariffs by adjusting our trade flows (and) shifting our production.

“We could move a model that’s being currently produced in China and imported into the United States and build that unit here in the United States,” Garrison added. “It is an issue, but right now we’re working aggressively to mitigate the actions and the impact on our margins and the potential impact of any pricing that we’d have to (do) so we don’t adversely impact our customers.”

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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