New data released on Thursday confirms that Canadian exports of primary aluminum to the U.S. had been declining for months when U.S. President Donald Trump announced in August he would reimpose 10 per cent tariffs.
The data undermines the factual basis for Trump’s tariffs, which he said were necessary because Canadian producers had flooded the U.S. market with aluminum, hurting the U.S. sector.
But on Thursday, the Washington International Trade Association hosted a panel discussion on the topic, in which opponents of the tariffs suggested that metal traders had exploited the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
They acknowledged there was a spike in non-alloyed aluminum earlier this year, but said it was directly linked to the economic shutdown. Demand for alloyed aluminum fell after automakers halted production during the height of the pandemic, compelling Canadian producers to temporarily switch to the more easily traded non-alloyed aluminum, they said, adding that overall aluminum exports from Canada for the year remain at normal levels, and even below recent volumes.