Leaders from the domestic aluminum industry met with policymakers in Washington today, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro and members of Congress to discuss a number of key trade issues. Among other topics, the group discussed the recently announced agreement between House Democrats and the Trump administration clearing a path for implementation of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“The Aluminum Association leadership lauded the work of the administration and Congress to move the agreement forward. The aluminum industry in the United States relies on free, open and fair trade within North America, which has supported three consecutive years of historically high demand for aluminum within the region,” said Lauren Wilk, vice president for policy and international trade at the Aluminum Association. “However, we also emphasized the need for effective trade monitoring and enforcement, including the creation of formal aluminum import monitoring programs in the United States and Mexico.”
This followed an announcement in August by the Canadian government to add certain aluminum products to its Import Control List (ICL) as part of a commitment with the United States to prioritize trade monitoring and enforcement. Mexico made a similar commitment earlier this year to “prevent the importation of aluminum and steel that is unfairly subsidized and/or sold at dumped prices” and “establish an agreed-upon process for monitoring aluminum and steel trade between them” but has not followed up with details.
“While the final USMCA agreement still contains a number of protections promoting North American aluminum use, particularly in the automotive sector, there’s no question we must be vigilant to ensure that unfairly traded aluminum does not enter the region. Imports of aluminum sheet and plate from China into Mexico have increased by nearly 150 percent in the past year and more than 1,700 percent since 2014,” added Wilk. “It’s time for all three USMCA countries to develop and coordinate on systems that can identify and proactively address concerns about aluminum import surges, circumvention or evasion of duties. These systems could help protect the North American market from unfairly subsidized Chinese aluminum, the main challenge facing regional producers.”
While aluminum was not included in the USMCA amendment signed this week to require certain metal purchased by vehicle producers be “melted and poured” in North America, a number of provisions in the agreement will support aluminum’s continued historic growth in the North American automotive sector. The agreement includes Regional Value Content (RVC) requirements for vehicles as well as auto parts, and automakers will be required to certify that at last 70 percent of the aluminum they purchase directly qualifies as originating within North America.
“We will continue to work with Congress and the administration to ensure the implementation of USMCA, and particularly the automotive Rules of Origin provisions, will benefit U.S. aluminum producers across the full industry value chain,” added Wilk. “A significant amount of automotive aluminum is produced and transformed within North America today, and we anticipate that the car makers will increasingly rely on innovative solutions from U.S. aluminum companies in future model years.”
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 www.aluminum.org, on Twitter @AluminumNews or at Facebook.com/AluminumAssociation.