The Aluminum Association released “American Aluminum Jobs: Essential to the Nation,” which provides a framework for policymakers developing economic stimulus and other programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The document underscores the essential nature of U.S. aluminum production, fabrication and recycling and calls for a number of measures to support the industry during the ongoing public health crisis — including designating it as an “essential” industry by state, local, and federal governments as they consider any upcoming or ongoing shelter-in-place orders.
Aluminum has long been designated a critical mineral and both the Commerce and Defense Departments have recognized the domestic aluminum industry as “vital to national security, especially in an unexpected or extended conflict or national emergency.”
In addition, the industry produces a number of products that are essential during a public health crisis. “The aluminum industry provides a number of products that will be essential to the nation in the coming weeks and months,” said Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association. “From building material for emergency facilities and critical infrastructure to antimicrobial medical equipment to packaging for food, beverage, hygiene and other products, aluminum is a key part of any disaster response effort. We are requesting clear guidance from federal, state, and local authorities that the industry is exempt from any orders that could potentially disrupt supply chains.”
The framework also calls for a number of specific actions by policymakers to keep the aluminum industry operating in both the near and long-term, including grants for capital projects, a credit insurance program, tax incentives, defense spending and other actions. “During this challenging time, it is important that we all come together to support vital American manufacturing,” added Dobbins. “COVID-19 is a unique but conquerable threat and we look forward to doing our part to help.”
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), the Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC), and the Aluminum Recyclers Council (ARC) have all issued statements supporting the Aluminum Association’s assessment regarding the value of the aluminum industry.
The AEC stated that it appreciates and recognizes the extraordinary efforts of the administration in attempting to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, the council believes now is the time for the government to put the aluminum industry to work during this health crisis.
“The aluminum extrusion industry stands ready to assist in this time of emergency that our country faces,” said Jeff Henderson, president of the AEC. “The members of the AEC are hard-working, resilient and compassionate. They want to be part of the solution and not be relegated to the sidelines in this most critical time in our country.”
The AAC noted that anodized aluminum products and components are used in a wealth of applications in medical and dental equipment manufacturing, including blood handling equipment, regulators, oxygen equipment, hospital and emergency room apparatus, instruments durable enough to be sterilized repeatedly, and many more — making them essential during this pandemic.
In addition to supporting the Aluminum Association statement, the ARC announced its equal support of the efforts made by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), applauding their letter to Vice President Pence and highlighting its call requesting, “that all recycling operations across the U.S. be designated ‘essential’ to public health and welfare, as well as to our nation’s economic infrastructure.”