Wauconda, Illinois -- The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) was encouraged by the initiation of the Aluminum 232 Investigation and the implication that President Trump was going to take on the greatest risk to the future of the U.S. aluminum industry - China. AEC members stood up to China’s illegal and unfair trade policies with the imposition of antidumping orders in 2011. As a result of these orders, AEC member companies have made significant new investments that enabled the industry to offer new products and technologies for transportation, defense, automotive light-weighting, and many other applications.
However, the Administration risks ignoring the China problem by imposing trade restrictions on imports from other countries which could shut off the supply of primary aluminum and threaten the ability of downstream American manufacturers to compete. Therefore, the Aluminum Extruders Council is recommending a remedy that places an aluminum content tariff on all Chinese imports. Importers would need to declare the value of the aluminum content in their imports and pay a tariff on that value. “The recommended tariff is 100%, which is about what the extruders have in place today,” said Jeff Henderson, President of the AEC.
AEC recognizes that U.S. primary aluminum producers are struggling. These struggles are rooted in high energy costs and regulatory burdens compared to other countries and the significant price depressing effects China’s vast overcapacity has on global prices. Therefore, restricting access to imports from other countries will not solve the real problems U.S. primary aluminum manufactures face.
“Given the successes realized by AEC’s trade actions, we believed the administration would take a keen interest in our industry’s journey,” said Henderson. “When there is a complete consensus that China is the problem, we are concerned that the remedies imposed in the 232 Investigation will miss the need to focus on China and instead lead to tariffs on that much-needed aluminum supply, risking the downstream markets’ ability to compete in a global marketplace.”
Should the Administration decide to place a tariff on primary aluminum imports, then American value-added manufacturers impacted by the artificially inflated cost of production must be protected. This protection must be of equal or greater value than the primary aluminum tariff, and it must extend to the downstream manufacturers.