U.S. aluminum producers urge permanent tariff exemptions for Canada – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – April 27, 2018)

http://business.financialpost.com/

American aluminum producers have issued a plea to U.S. President Donald Trump to grant permanent tariff exemptions to trading partners including Canada, arguing the levies would hurt downstream manufacturers who rely on the imported metal.

The appeal from the industry’s main trade association in the United States comes as Canada’s temporary reprieve from tariffs of 10 per cent on aluminum and 25 per cent on steel is set to expire on May 1. The U.S. has said the exemptions are dependent on the successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which remains the subject of intense negotiations in Washington.

“I urge you to grant permanent exemptions — without quotas — for our aluminum trading partners that operate as market economies,” Heidi Brock, chief executive of the U.S. aluminum association said in a letter to Trump this week. “I also encourage you to engage China to address structural aluminum overcapacity.”

Though the U.S. consumes 5.5 million tonnes of aluminum each year, it produces just 700,000 tonnes of the metal. The lion’s share of that deficit is covered by Canada, which ships 2.8 million tonnes of aluminum each year from smelters located primarily in Quebec and British Columbia, according to data from the Aluminum Association of Canada.

Russia supplies the next largest amount at roughly 800,000 tonnes, followed by countries in the Middle East — at a combined 600,000 tonnes. Aluminum is also imported from a range of other countries, though in much smaller amounts.

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