Association News

Trump Reinstates Section 232 Tariffs on Canadian Aluminum

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The Trump administration has reinstated Section 232 tariffs on non-alloyed unwrought aluminum from Canada. The decision was criticized by the Aluminum Association.

“We’re incredibly disappointed that the administration failed to listen to the vast majority of domestic aluminum companies and users by reinstating Section 232 tariffs on Canadian aluminum. After years of complex negotiations and hard work by government, industry and other leaders across North America to make the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement a reality, this ill-advised action on a key trading partner undermines the deal’s benefits at a time when U.S. businesses and consumers can least afford it,” said Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association.

The push to reinstate the tariffs was driven by the U.S. Primary Aluminum Producers Association. The association claimed a surge of imports from Canada was damaging the domestic industry.

The Aluminum Association disputes that claim. It argues that data released by the U.S. Census Bureau showed primary aluminum imports to the U.S. from Canada declined 2.6 percent from May to June, and remain below 2017 levels.

“While we understand that the president is attempting to help the aluminum industry, the volatility of implementing, removing and then re-imposing trade barriers threatens U.S. growth and investment at a time when domestic demand is already down nearly 25 percent year-to-date. This Groundhog’s Day revival of Section 232 tariffs on a key trading partner does not address the underlying issue of China’s overcapacity and makes U.S. aluminum companies less competitive when trying to sell their goods to industrial customers across North America,” Dobbins said.

The decision was also not welcomed by the National Association of Manufacturers. NAM President Jay Timmons tweeted, "Just a month after USMCA implementation leveled the playing field for manufacturers, we were surprised to see today’s announcement. This is a step backwards for a historic trade agreement that restored trade certainty and empowered our industry."