The Aluminum Association lauded the work done so far by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro, and various members of Congress in working to achieve the ratification of the new U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) last week. However, the Association warned that the new agreement would require effective enforcement, including the establishment of an import monitoring program by the governments of both the United States and Mexico.
In a press release issued by the Association on Friday, the the Aluminum Association’s vice president for policy and international trade Lauren Wilk elaborated upon the organization’s position.
“The Aluminum Association leadership lauded the work of the administration and Congress to move the agreement forward. The aluminum industry in the United States relies on free, open and fair trade within North America, which has supported three consecutive years of historically high demand for aluminum within the region. However, we also emphasized the need for effective trade monitoring and enforcement, including the creation of formal aluminum import monitoring programs in the United States and Mexico.”
The Association’s comments come on the heels of Ottawa’s announcement that it will add a variety of aluminium products to its Import Control List (ICL) and Mexico City’s assurances that it would establish means for controlling aluminium and steel imports in order to screen out those that are subsidized or otherwise dumped on the North American market.
“While the final USMCA agreement still contains a number of protections promoting North American aluminum use, particularly in the automotive sector, there’s no question we must be vigilant to ensure that unfairly traded aluminum does not enter the region,” Wilk continued.
“Imports of aluminum sheet and plate from China into Mexico have increased by nearly 150 percent in the past year and more than 1,700 percent since 2014. It’s time for all three USMCA countries to develop and coordinate on systems that can identify and proactively address concerns about aluminum import surges, circumvention or evasion of duties. These systems could help protect the North American market from unfairly subsidized Chinese aluminum, the main challenge facing regional producers.”
The Association noted that aluminium was not included in the USMCA amendment inked last week that required some metals to be melted and poured in North America, but it did express its happiness over the Regional Value Content (RVC) requirement for automobiles and automotive parts and the proviso in the USMCA that will require automakers to certify that a minimum of 70 percent of the aluminium purchased is produced on the continent.
“We will continue to work with Congress and the administration to ensure the implementation of USMCA, and particularly the automotive Rules of Origin provisions, will benefit U.S. aluminum producers across the full industry value chain,” Wilk concluded. “A significant amount of automotive aluminum is produced and transformed within North America today, and we anticipate that the car makers will increasingly rely on innovative solutions from U.S. aluminum companies in future model years.”