Aluminum Association’s new policy brief
The Aluminum Association, representing companies that make 70 percent of the aluminium and aluminium products shipped in North America, released a new policy brief – “A Trade Policy Framework for the U.S. Aluminum Industry.”
The document highlights key priorities to ensure that U.S. aluminium can compete on a fair and level global playing field.
The U.S. aluminium industry supports nearly 660,000 total jobs (166,000 direct) and nearly $172 billion in total economic output ($70 billion direct).
Aluminium is a key element of any comprehensive strategy to enhance the nation’s infrastructure while conserving energy, improving environmental quality and mitigating climate change.
Aluminium is a key component in making vehicles more efficient, buildings greener and packaging more recyclable. The federal government has also recognised strong domestic aluminium supply chains as “vital to national security, especially in an unexpected or extended conflict or national emergency.”
“Three years after the implementation of the Section 232 tariffs on most aluminium imports into the U.S., it is time to take a fresh look at trade policy to support a robust domestic aluminium industry,” said Tom Dobbins, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association.
“The Biden administration and the new Congress have an opportunity to harness the growth potential for aluminium as a sustainable solution for the 21st century, and capitalise on the more than $3 billion of private U.S. aluminum investment over the past decade.
“The federal government can take action immediately to put American aluminium on an equal footing with overseas competitors.”
Among other recommendations in the document, the Aluminum Association urges the Biden administration to:
- Implement immediate and urgent reforms to Section 232 exclusion process: The current Section 232 product exclusion process has inadvertently made the United States a magnet for imports. The current Section 232 exclusion process actively incentivises companies to turn first to import aluminium products like sheet, plate and foil that are manufactured in abundance in the United States.
- Carefully consider country-wide exemptions to the Section 232 aluminium tariffs on countries committed to market-based trade: The Aluminum Association has long favoured a targeted, durable approach to trade remedies and strong enforcement of the trade rules.
- Continue robust trade enforcement and maintain Section 301 tariffs on aluminium imports: The government should continue to use all the tools at its disposal to fully enforce existing trade rules, including anti-dumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) orders. AD/CVD orders have been successfully deployed in the aluminium foil and common alloy sheet markets as a backstop to unfairly traded imports.
- Prioritise multilateral efforts to combat unfair global trade practices and harmful industrial subsidies: The Biden administration has an opportunity to lead a coalition of nations committed to a rules- and market-based global trading system against unfair industrial practices in China. Overcapacity in the global aluminium market remains a major challenge. Aluminium smelter output in China hit records last summer, and Chinese producers are slated to bring online 3 million metric tons of new primary aluminium capacity this year. Meanwhile, China’s exports of semi-fabricated aluminium products are gaining market share around the world.
- Launch the new Aluminium Import Monitoring system and carefully track aluminum trade flows: The Commerce Department has delayed the launch the Aluminium Import Monitoring (AIM) system, a program that was funded with bipartisan support for Fiscal Year 2021, until June 28. The AIM will serve as an early warning mechanism to help spot trends and shifts in trade flows that might warrant industry or government action.
- Outline a comprehensive policy, with long-term federal investment, to ensure a stable and resilient domestic aluminium capacity amidst a global supply chain: It is in the economic and national security interest of the United States to have a resilient and self-sufficient domestic aluminium supply chain. The federal government can play a leading role by investing to modernise both U.S. aluminium primary smelting and secondary recycling operations.
To learn more visit www.aluminum.org/agenda.
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