The Aluminum Association (AA) has released a series of policy documents that expand on the priorities to support the US aluminum industry. The brief, titled, “Presidential Policy Brief: Recommendations for a Strong U.S. Aluminum Industry,” includes several recommendations for the incoming Biden administration and Congress, the AA noted in a statement.
The brief us an addendum to the industry’s overarching “Aluminum Agenda” released in 2019, and includes key policy goals in energy, environment, infrastructure, recycling, and trade.
Tom Dobbins, president and chief executive officer of the Aluminum Association said while releasing the brief that the association looked forward to working with the Biden administration in the coming months and years. “During this challenging time for our nation, it is critically important that we all work together toward renewal and recovery. A strong and growing domestic aluminum industry can play a role in the American comeback story,” he said.
Here are some highlights of the goals enumerated in the policy brief:
- Energy: As a lightweight, durable, and infinitely recyclable material, aluminum is part of a suite of solutions for 21st-century energy challenges. Both Congress, the Biden administration, and state governments have an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through research and investment in production, recycling, and use of aluminum.
- Environment: Aluminum producers have voluntarily worked to reduce their environmental impact and to cut greenhouse gas emissions from North American primary production by nearly half since 1991, work previously recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency. Smart climate change policy should work to reduce emissions at home while avoiding jobs “leakage” to overseas countries with more lax environmental enforcement.
- Infrastructure: The U.S. aluminum industry strongly supports increased public and private infrastructure investment and incentives for operational efficiencies and sustainable material choices. The aluminum industry has a role to play in policies around electric grid modernization, electric vehicle infrastructure, public transportation building construction, and recycling infrastructure revitalization.
- Recycling: While the aluminum used for cars, buildings, and similar industrial applications is typically recycled at rates exceeding 90pc, aluminum used in consumer applications is recycled at far lower rates — which is bad for the economy and the environment. The Aluminum Association supports policies like a recycling infrastructure fund and well-designed container deposit programs to increase consumer recycling.
The single biggest threat to U.S. aluminum remains unfairly subsidized overcapacity in China. Strong, targeted trade enforcement is vital to the U.S. aluminum industry’s ability to compete on a market-based, level playing field. The Aluminum Association supports renewed cooperation with traditional trading partners and allies to address this perennial issue.
Last year, the AA released new economic data showing largely steady jobs and economic impact for the aluminum industry in the United States over the last decade. In total, the US aluminum industry supports nearly 660,000 total jobs (166,000 direct) and nearly $172 billion in total economic output ($70 billion direct). Modeling through the third quarter of 2020 suggested that COVID-19 driven economic disruptions likely reduced jobs and output by about 11pc.
“Among the many lessons of the past year is just how essential American manufacturing is to a strong and healthy country,” added Dobbins. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and do our part as aluminum producers, recyclers, and fabricators. We look forward to working with policymakers to grow good-paying manufacturing jobs while building a more sustainable world.”
Click here to read the brief in detail.