WASHINGTON—Three weeks after President Donald Trump proclaimed that America’s aluminum businesses were booming, “through the roof,” because of his tariffs, America’s largest aluminum producer made its quarterly earnings announcement.
Alcoa said it was still earning billions. But it also said it was lowering its profit forecast. Part of the reason: the tariffs, which it expected to cost $14 million (U.S.) a month. The company operates three smelters in Canada, which Trump declined to exempt.
Alcoa’s complaint highlighted the scant corporate support for the 10 per cent tariffs. Unlike Trump’s 25 per cent steel tariffs, which were endorsed by U.S. steelmakers, the industry group for the American aluminum industry is opposed to the aluminum tariffs.
The problem is not countries like Canada, the Aluminum Association says, but China’s market-distorting “overcapacity.” China has rapidly accelerated aluminum production in the last two decades, going from about 10 per cent of the world’s primary production to more than half.
“Our view is that we really ought to focus this on China. We think that having market-economy countries like Canada and others under this regime is not the right approach,” said association spokesperson Matt Meenan.