Metal Industry News

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Canada, Mexico, EU Subject to 232 Tariffs

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The Trump administration has ended Section 232 tariff exemptions for Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Producers from those countries will now be subject to tariffs of 25 percent on steel products and 10 percent on aluminum products, which the president announced March 8 at the White House.

“The Aluminum Association was disappointed by today’s announcement that expands Section 232 aluminum tariffs to additional vital trading partner countries,” Aluminum Association President Heidi Brock said. "The association, which represents the majority of aluminum production and jobs in the United States, believes that no country that operates as a market economy should be subject to unnecessary and disruptive tariffs or quotas. The administration’s trade remedies should specifically target structural aluminum overcapacity in China, which is caused by rampant, illegal government subsidies in that country. Tackling overcapacity is the best way for the aluminum industry to thrive in the U.S., addressing the national security concerns identified by the Commerce Department in its Section 232 investigation.”

The Aluminum Association is calling on the Trump administration to initiate immediate, government-to-government negotiations with China to address structural overcapacity. Excess capacity alone in China last year totaled 11 million metric tons of primary aluminum – 40 percent of the rest of the world’s total production of 27.5 million metric tons. And imports of semi-fabricated aluminum to the U.S. from China have spiked some 230 percent since 2012. All of this is driving uncertainty in the global aluminum market and chilling investment here at home during a time of historic aluminum demand.

“Today’s action does little to address the China challenge while potentially alienating allies and disrupting supply chains that more than 97 percent of U.S. aluminum industry jobs rely upon," Brock said. "During a time of record demand for aluminum in the United States, it is critical that aluminum producers across the value chain have a steady and reliable source of supply. While this is an unfortunate outcome, the Aluminum Association will continue its dialogue with the administration on our shared goal of a healthy and sustainable U.S. aluminum industry.”

Next week, the Aluminum Association will participate in a summit with industry executives, government officials and global aluminum association partners to discuss a “roadmap” for governmental multilateral action in the aluminum market. The meeting will take place in Montreal June 3-4 in advance of the G7 meeting later that week.