The American Primary Aluminum Association (APAA) has urged the incoming Biden administration to maintain Section 232 tariffs on primary aluminum imports.
In a letter addressed to President-elect Joe Biden, Mark Duffy, chief executive officer of the APAA said that because of the tariffs, primary aluminum production in the US has risen by around 60pc. The tariffs have also resulted in the restart of two smelters, adding to the jobs in the US economy, he said.
However, Duffy noted that the remaining US smelters could be forced to shut down if the Section 232 tariffs are removed before there is more balance in the global market. Moreover, the closure of the smelters could result in the disruption of the US supply chains.
Aluminum Association calls for more reforms
According to the latest Aluminum Association data, primary aluminum production declined by 8.8pc in 2020 to 10.3mn mt compared with 1.13 mn mt in the previous year. However, the association said in a statement on Thursday that it would provide country-specific, targeted input for any potential changes to the Section 232 tariff regime.
Tom Dobbins, president and chief executive officer of the Aluminum Association, said that the association favored a “targeted approach to trade enforcement” to address the issues of overcapacity in the aluminum market. He added that changes to the program should be considered in a manner that allows the market to adjust to a comprehensive trade policy to “support the US aluminum value-chain.”
The association clarified that it would continue to call for reforms to the product exclusion process if the Section 232 tariffs remain in place so that importers cannot use them to benefit from the current exclusion system.