Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

The US aluminum industry has appealed to the Trump administration to reform the exclusion clause under Sec 232 tariffs for aluminum manufacturers.


In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Aluminum Association demanded considerable amendments to the exclusion clause to ensure fair trade for domestic aluminum producers. Under the current clause, aluminum importers can apply for exclusion from paying the 10pc tariff on certain aluminum products subject to the tariffs.


The association, which sent the letter on behalf of its member companies, pointed out these exclusions have been especially harmful to domestic aluminum manufacturers in the current economic environment, as resources are strained in spite of being deemed an “essential industry” during the pandemic.


According to Tom Dobbins, president and chief executive officer of the Aluminum Association, instead of making critical products that support the health care and infrastructure, among other, industries during the pandemic, aluminum firms have allotted their workforces to keeping up with Sec 232 exclusion requests from importers. 


Moreover, the association said the Department of Commerce has granted exclusion requests for over 20bn lb (9mn mt) of aluminum products since the program began in 2018. In 2020, the department has already granted exclusions for 5bn lb of aluminum sheets, many of which originated from China, and has provided exclusion for 8bn lb of aluminum sheets since 2018.


Automakers, OEMs request tariff relief

In a separate letter sent to President Trump by Americans for Free Trade, various industries, including original equipment manufacturers, automakers and auto parts makers, have urged the administration to expand a program, which permits businesses to delay income and payroll taxes until June, to include import taxes. It has also appealed to the administration to defer deadlines for all duties and fees. 


The letter noted that if the administration were to make these additions, it would free up billions of dollars for companies to pay their suppliers, employees and service providers during a time of economic strain.


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