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Section 232 Tariff Exemption Still Vital to US Aluminum Industry

Metal News - Published on Fri, 22 May 2020

Image Source: Aluminum Association Section 232
In a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer marking the one-year anniversary of the removal of Section 232 aluminum tariffs on aluminum produced in North America, Aluminum Association President & CEO Tom Dobbins noted the continued importance of the exemptions to US aluminum companies and workers. Mr Dobbins said “The US aluminum industry depends on a reliable source of Canadian primary aluminum, which has been a key part of the domestic supply chain and national security apparatus for decades, to meet demand for these aluminum products. Even if every US aluminum smelter was operating at full capacity, aluminum manufacturers would still require a mix of domestic and imported primary aluminum as well as secondary production to meet the demands of US manufacturers and consumers for aluminum products. Fully 97 percent of US aluminum industry jobs are in mid-and-downstream production and processing, and these jobs, as well as many more at US aerospace, automotive, and other advanced manufacturing firms, depend on reliable aluminum supplies from our USMCA trading partner.”

Levels of imported primary aluminum from Canada into the US. are generally consistent with volumes dating back prior to the imposition of the Section 232 tariffs and are down from peaks in 2017. While the precise mix of the types of primary aluminum shipped may vary according to market conditions, total imports of primary material over time have stayed relatively constant

2015 - 2017109 81385 112194 925
2017128 96580 623209 587
2019100 98073 460174 440
2019 (Q3-Q4)136 46068 178204 638
2020 (YTD)125 26161 108186 369

Source: Aluminium Association of Canada

Mr Dobbins also highlighted continued issues in the implementation of the Section 232 program, particularly the aluminum product exclusion process. Since the beginning of the program, the Commerce Department has granted tariff exclusions on aluminum products covering more than 22 billion pounds of aluminum – including more than 4 billion pounds from China, the most granted for any single country.

Dobbins called for increased import monitoring in North America to combat unfair global trade practices, especially subsidized aluminum overcapacity originating in China.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Fri, 22 May 2020
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