During testimony at the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) today, Aluminum Association President & CEO Heidi Brock highlighted the urgent need for full, quota-free tariff exemptions for Canada and Mexico as part of the newly-renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The comments were made as part of the USITC’s hearing, United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and Specific Industry Sectors.
You can read the full comments here.
“The [USMCA] simply cannot work as intended for the aluminum industry and our customers with tariffs – or quotas to limit access to supply – in place,” said Brock. “Full, quota-free exemptions for Canada and Mexico from aluminum tariffs as part of this agreement will benefit the U.S. aluminum industry and the hundreds of thousands of American workers who depend on its success.”
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) first took effect, more than $220 billion worth of aluminum has crossed the U.S. border going into or out of Canada and Mexico. In 2017, nearly 50 percent of all aluminum flowing into or out of the United States either originated from, or was destined for, a NAFTA trading partner.
In particular, Canada is a major source of primary aluminum for the United States. This reliable supply of aluminum has helped drive investments in our mid-and-downstream sectors – which make up 97 percent of all U.S. aluminum industry jobs. Last year, the U.S. consumed nearly 6 million metric tons of primary aluminum, yet the U.S. only has the capacity to produce about 2 million metric. Even if every U.S. aluminum smelter turned on tomorrow at full capacity, the United States would not produce nearly enough primary aluminum here in the United States to satisfy record and growing domestic demand.
“The U.S. aluminum industry faces an acute and persistent issue of illegally subsidized Chinese aluminum overcapacity in the market, but tariff or quota actions against countries like Canada and Mexico that operate as market economies do not address the China challenge and instead harm the overall competitiveness of the region,” added Brock.
The Aluminum Association also noted concerns about the Commerce Department’s Section 232 tariff exclusion process and indicated that the industry is continuing to assess the possible impact of changes to automotive rules of origin. Brock lauded efforts in the USMCA to address transshipment and illegal duty evasion as well as new provisions addressing state-owned enterprises
“We very much support the effort to establish a shared framework for new disciplines on market-distorting policies and practices – and to set a template for future trade agreements,” Brock noted. “From the beginning, we have supported a modernized North American trade agreement, and USMCA achieves that in important ways. However, we urge the president to resolve the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum imports for our neighbors to ensure free movement of aluminum and aluminum products within North America.”
The Aluminum Association recently launched an online advocacy campaign to encourage the Trump administration to “Get Tough on China, Not Canada.” To learn more and to participate in the effort please visit https://p2a.co/EDcQn6H.
About The Aluminum Association
The Aluminum Association represents aluminum production and jobs in the United States, ranging from primary production to value added products to recycling, as well as suppliers to the industry. The Association is the industry’s leading voice, providing global standards, business intelligence, sustainability research and industry expertise to member companies, policymakers and the general public. The aluminum industry helps manufacturers produce sustainable and innovative products, including more fuel-efficient vehicles, recyclable packaging, greener buildings and modern electronics. In the U.S., the aluminum industry supports $174 billion in economic activity and nearly 700,000 jobs. For more information visit https://www.aluminum.org, on Twitter @AluminumNews or at Facebook.com/AluminumAssociation.
Previously published November 16, 2018 | The Aluminum Association