Continued Restraint on All Sources of Primary Aluminum Imports Is Critical to the Continuing Success of the Aluminum 232 Program

27 November 2018

On Friday and today, the American Primary Aluminum Association (APAA) filed comments with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in its investigation into the effects of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In the comments, the APAA is urging that to maintain the continued success of the Section 232 aluminum tariffs it is critical that all sources of primary imports are restrained.

To download the full and complete comments filed by the APAA, please follow the link here.

"The APAA's comments  highlight the strategic importance of the Section 232 aluminum tariffs on America's primary aluminum industry," said Mark Duffy, Chief Executive Officer of the APAA. "The Section 232 aluminum tariffs are working.  By the first quarter of 2019, due to production restarts, U.S. primary aluminum production will have increased by over 67 percent.  In order for those restarts to continue, and to better serve America's primary aluminum industry, all nations must be subject to either tariffs or quotas based on historic shipping levels. Thousands of U.S. workers are benefitting from the tariffs, it is therefore critical that the U.S. International Trade Commission put the interests of American workers first and continue to recommend that the Section 232 tariffs remain separate from the USMCA."

Because aluminum is a globally traded commodity, imports into the U.S. regardless of source transmit the adverse price effects of the excess capacity crisis.  The capacity crisis is global in nature and far more than just a China problem.  Allowing major foreign aluminum suppliers completely unfettered access to the U.S. market will leave little to no room for U.S. producers to restart their production.  For this reason, excluding any country, even allies like Canada, Mexico or the E.U., from tariffs without corresponding quotas based on historic shipping patterns, would jeopardize current U.S. restarts and eliminate future domestic expansion plans.

Since the Trump Administration's Section 232 aluminum tariffs' implementation, American companies are now able to compete with global producers that benefit from foreign government intervention.  U.S. primary aluminum producers have immediately responded, significantly increasing production as a direct result of the Section 232 program.

Correcting U.S. aluminum prices for these distortions has had little to no effect on downstream aluminum industries or consumers.  Shipments of aluminum extrusions and aluminum sheet and plate are all up significantly this year compared with the same time last year.  Further, because aluminum is a relatively small proportion of the overall finished downstream products it is included in, there has been little inflationary effect on the economy or on those downstream consumers.  In fact, employment across the board in these downstream industries has also increased this year.

About the American Primary Aluminum Association (APAA): The American Primary Aluminum Association will advocate to advance the interests of America's primary aluminum industry and its workers through the Aluminum Now campaign. APAA is registered and incorporated in Washington, DC and operates as a non-profit trade association. For more, please visit: