On the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration imposed new economic restrictions on the country, including a 200 percent tariff on aluminum.
“These measures are designed to target key Russian commodities generating revenue for the Kremlin while reducing U.S. reliance on Russia. These measures are carefully calibrated to impose costs on Russia while minimizing costs to U.S. consumers. [This] action will result in increased tariffs on more than 100 Russian metals, minerals, and chemical products worth approximately $2.8 billion to Russia. It will also significantly increase costs for aluminum that was smelted or cast in Russia to enter the U.S. market in order to counter harm to the domestic aluminum industry, which is being squeezed by energy costs as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” a release from the White House said.
The president also directed the Secretary of Commerce to monitor imports of aluminum articles and inform the president of any circumstances that in the Secretary’s opinion might indicate the need for further action under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended, with respect to such imports.
The actions were welcomed by some in the domestic aluminum chain.
“Over the past year, our nation, in cooperation with many of our friends and allies, imposed sanctions on Russia to limit materials and capital that support its war against Ukraine. However, Russia and Russian producers continue to profit from exports," said United Steelworkers International President Tom Conway. “The sharp increase in energy prices caused by Russia’s actions also hurt producers and resulted in massive layoffs, stifling needed production for our own military and critical infrastructure. This includes contributing to the temporary idling of the last high purity aluminum facility in a NATO country, Century Aluminum’s Hawesville, Ky., smelter.
A release from the Aluminum Association noted the trade group “strongly condemns Russia’s actions and stands united in support of any and all efforts deemed necessary by the U.S. government and its allies to address the ongoing crisis.”
“Century Aluminum fully supports the Biden administration’s decision to impose significant tariffs on the import of Russian aluminum and Russian aluminum embedded in downstream articles. For too long, Russian aluminum producers have flooded the market with excess production, undercutting U.S. competitors without consequence,” said Century Aluminum President and CEO Jesse Gary.