The Aluminum Association has denounced the Trump administration’s intentions to resume tariffs on Canadian aluminum imports, citing the likelihood of a weakened American industry.
In a letter addressed to US Trade Representative Robert E Lighthizer, the association noted that the removal of Sec 232 tariffs in May 2019, which led to establishing the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, inferred shared commitment to monitoring imports from outside the continent, the administration’s decision to resume duties could harm the US aluminum industry.
North America’s integrated aluminum supply chain has been critical to the US industry, the association stated, helping it grow in recent decades. Moreover, it requires a consistent supply if aluminum to manufacture semi-fabricated products, like aluminum foil, sheet, plate, wire, extrusions, and other products. At full capacity, US primary aluminum smelters is only capable of meeting a third of demand, however, USMCA will change that when it comes into effect July 1, said the association’s letter.
The US House and Senate committees recently described a surge of primary aluminum imports from the country’s northern neighbor as worrying and decided to revisit the decision to rescind Sec 232 tariffs. However, the Aluminum Association, representing more than 15 chief executives in its missive, stated that the aluminum value chain, including US producers, would become impeded by the decision.
The letter takes umbrage with the federal government’s reason for wanting to reinstitute tariffs on Canadian aluminum imports, insisting that they’re consistent with the same volume preceding the Sec 232 tariff implementation, which was below peak levels seen in 2017. As a result, the association said there’s scarce reason for concern with Canadian trade relations.