Aluminum Association applaud increased tariffs on Chinese imports


The Aluminum Association applauded the announcement by the White House calling on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to triple existing Section 301 tariff levels for Chinese imports of aluminuim and steel from current levels of 7.5%. 

The Aluminum Association has consistently advocated for an increase in the Section 301 tariffs on aluminium imports from China as the most appropriate action to directly target non-market behavior in China. The association will work closely with the USTR as they implement the White House directive. “Today’s decision is a win for the U.S. aluminium industry and the nearly 700,000 American workers the sector supports,” said Charles Johnson, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. 

“Unfortunately, China continues to engage in significant unfair trade activities, including massive state subsidies which hurt U.S. manufacturing and global carbon reduction efforts. This targeted tariff action by the Biden administration will help to counteract some of these challenges.”
The White House statement also noted that President Biden is “directing his senior team to work with Mexico to jointly prevent China’s and other countries’ evasion of tariffs on steel and aluminium.” The Aluminum Association is working with industry partners in Mexico and Canada to argue for increased trade monitoring and enforcement by the Mexican government.

“We appreciate the administration’s efforts to address potential transshipment and tariff circumvention in Mexico which may be allowing unfairly and illegally traded aluminum from China, Russia and elsewhere to enter the U.S. market,” said Johnson.

Today’s announcement will also have a positive impact on efforts to reduce carbon emissions in global aluminum production. Years of industry benchmarking and a recent third-party, critical-reviewed life cycle assessment (LCA) report found that making aluminium and aluminium products in regions like China, which rely disproportionately on coal-fired power, can be two to three times as carbon intensive as making similar products in North America. 

A study last year by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that state subsidises for aluminium smelters in China and elsewhere were exacerbating global greenhouse gas emissions. Other recent OECD reports found that the vast majority of state subsidies in the aluminum sector go to firms in China.
 The U.S. aluminium industry is a key part of the U.S. manufacturing base and clean energy transition, representing more than 160,000 direct American jobs. 

Over the past decade, the industry has invested more than $10 billion in U.S. manufacturing including recycling operations and the first greenfield rolling mills in a generation. The industry was also the recent recipient of more than $650 million in Department of Energy grants to support industrial decarbonisation. The energy and carbon impact of aluminium production in North America (United States and Canada) has dropped to its lowest point in history, declining by more than half over the past 30 years.

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