United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Economy told local media on Tuesday that his government may reach an accord next year with the United States over the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariffs on aluminium and steel.
Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri said he expected an agreement in 2019, which will be the product of talks initiated shortly after the tariffs were enacted this spring.
“We will continue to go and explain our case because it is a very strong case. When it comes to the bilateral trade it is in favour of the US highly,” he told reporters at a conference in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
“At the end of day the main question was whether there was any imbalance of trade between the US and other nations. This is where they took action, but for us, this is in favour of the US so we don’t see any reason why we have been slapped with this 10 per cent (tariff).”
An agreement on the UAE’s exports to the United States is likely to be a boon to both nations, as the UAE is the third most prolific exporter of aluminium to the United States, behind only the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation.
The talks will be a continuation of a meeting between Al Mansouri and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in the summer.
“He promised [US commerce secretary] us they are going to look into the issue,” explained Al Mansouri.
The UAE is home to Emirates Global Aluminium, an aluminium conglomerate created by the merger between Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and Emirates Aluminium (EMAL) in 2013. EGA had an estimated enterprise value of US$15 billion at the time the merger took place. The firm is owned equally by Mubadala Development Company of Abu Dhabi and Investment Corporation of Dubai. Emirates Global Aluminium holds interests in bauxite/alumina and primary aluminium smelting.
The UAE is also a significant exporter of steel, shipping 290,221 metric tons of the metal to the United States in 2017 according to numbers from the United States Department of Commerce.