A tariff of 10% on most aluminum and aluminum products entering the U.S. has gone into effect as of today. A new proclamation, issued by President Trump, provides exemptions to these tariffs for key trading partner countries. In addition to previously announced exemptions for Canada and Mexico, temporary exemptions have been given to the European Union (EU), Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and South Korea.
The Aluminum Association stated that it believes that all countries designated as market economies by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) should be exempt from these tariffs. The association considers these exemptions to be a good first step.
European Aluminium also considered the exemptions to be a positive step, but ultimately insufficient to dissipate uncertainty and negative impacts in the industry. “We invite [EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström] and her U.S. counterpart to continue the dialogue in order to focus negotiations on the real problem which is how to tackle Chinese overcapacity and confirm that Europe will be permanently excluded from these potential unfair tariffs,” said Gerd Götz, director general of European Aluminium. “We encourage Commissioner and the European Council to continue to work hand in hand to deal with the redirection of metals by implementing market surveillance and safeguard measures without delay. These actions should be complemented by a strong push to find a global and long-term solution on Chinese overcapacity based on multilateral rules like a Global Aluminium Forum with G20.”
The Aluminium Federation (ALFED), based in the U.K. also issued a statement. “The exemption of the EU, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea from these measures, which come into effect today, is good news,” said Giles Ashmead, president of ALFED. “However, this exemption is only temporary, and European markets are still vulnerable to flows of diverted aluminum product from producing countries that remain affected by the tariffs. This situation can only generate uncertainty in our industry.”
The DOC also released details for excluding products from the tariffs. “These procedures will allow the Administration to further hone these tariffs to ensure they protect our national security while also minimizing undue impact on downstream American industries,” said Secretary Ross. “Starting tomorrow, domestic industry will be able to apply for exclusions through a fair and transparent process run through Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.”
Both the exclusion requests and objection filings will be available to view on regulations.gov, and the process for individual exclusions is expected to take no more than 90 days including time for public comment.