The United Arab Emirates has taken its position in the long line of aluminium-producing states seeking an exemption from United States President Donald Trump’s blanket 10-percent tariffs on aluminium imports that is set to kick in on Friday.
The assistant undersecretary for foreign trade affairs for U.A.E.’s Ministry of Economy Juma Mohamed Al Kait relayed to Reuters on Tuesday that officials from both governments are in ongoing discussions on the matter. The U.A.E. hopes to become just the fourth country granted an exception from the Section 232 tariffs, behind Australia, Canada and Mexico. President Trump has already gone on record that further exemptions may be issued, but only on a case-by-case basis.
“There’s open dialogue with the US government … We think we have a strong case to be exempt. Demand in the US market is high for high quality aluminium.
“We want to make clear that our exports are in fair competition with the market and are in line with international trade agreements on free trade.”
In addition to Kait’s comments, Danny Sebright, president of Washington, D.C.’s US-UAE Business Council, indicated to another media outlet that the U.A.E. may well have a strong case for exemption due to the critical nature of the country’s aluminium to the U.S. aerospace industry.
The U.A.E. is the United States’ third-most-prolific source of aluminium, trailing only the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation. The Emirates’ main aluminium producer is 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. EGA turned out a record 2.5 million metric tons of primary aluminium in 2016.