The Aluminum Association published an open letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthiser on Thursday seeking to convince the Trump Administration to continue excepting North American producers from Section 232 aluminium tariffs.
The letter, which was signed by more than a dozen CEOs and other executive officers from companies all along the aluminium value chain, praises the administration for exempting Canada and Mexico from Section 232 aluminium tariffs early on. The letter notes that fully 97 percent of the jobs held in the United States in the aluminium industry are in mid- and downstream portions of the value chain, which are highly reliant upon imported aluminium.
“The integrated North American aluminum supply chain has been a crucial element of the U.S. aluminum industry’s ability to invest and grow over the past several decades. The U.S. aluminum industry needs a reliable source of input aluminum material to manufacture semi-fabricated products like aluminum foil, sheet, plate, wire, extrusions and other products. Even at full capacity, U.S. primary aluminum smelters can only meet about one-third of the demand for this vital material. The aluminum industry has no choice but to import a significant amount of primary aluminum to meet demand – the only question is from where?”
Per the Association, the motivation for the letter was countering claims of a surge in imports in recent months. The Association notes that, according to the government’s own data, imports from suppliers in adjacent countries this year are generally in line with imports in recent years.
“Today’s letter shows an industry united in support of the continued free flow of metal within North America,” opined the Aluminum Association’s president and CEO Tom Dobbins. “After all of the hard work that has gone into making the USMCA a reality, it would be a shame to move backward by reapplying tariffs or quotas on aluminum. We trust that the administration will heed the advice of representatives from the impacted industry who recognize that this action would only hurt U.S. aluminum companies and workers.”