US reimposes tariffs on Canadian aluminum
President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to reimpose US tariffs on imports of Canadian aluminum, Trump said Aug. 6.
As of Aug. 16, US imports of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum will again be subject to a tariff of 10%, according to the proclamation.
The Trump administration placed 10% tariffs on primary aluminum imports, along with 25% tariffs on steel imports, in 2018, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Canada and Mexico were granted exemptions from the tariffs in 2019 amid negotiations for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“Several months ago my administration agreed to lift those tariffs in return for a promise from the Canadian government that its aluminum industry would not flood our country with exports and kill all of our aluminum jobs, which is exactly what they did,” Trump said, speaking at an event held at a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Clyde, Ohio. “Canadian aluminum producers have broken that commitment and the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has advised me that this step to reimpose tariffs is absolutely necessary to defend our aluminum industry.”
According to the proclamation, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross advised Trump that imports of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum from Canada, which accounted for 59% of total aluminum imports from Canada during June 2019 through May 2020, increased substantially in the 12 months following the US’ decision to exclude Canada from the tariffs.
“Imports of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum from Canada during June 2019 through May 2020 increased 87% compared to the prior 12-month period and exceeded the volume of any full calendar year in the previous decade,” the proclamation states. “Moreover, imports of these articles from Canada continue to increase, reaching in June of this year the highest level of any month since I decided to adjust imports of aluminum articles.”
Canada is the largest exporter of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum to the US, accounting tor nearly two-thirds of total imports of these articles from all countries in 2019 and about 75% of total imports in the first five months of 2020, according to the proclamation.
“The surge in imports of these articles from Canada coincides with a decrease in imports of these articles from other countries and threatens to harm domestic aluminum production and capacity utilization,” the proclamation states.
As part of the USMCA agreement and a condition of dropping the metals tariffs, the US, Canada and Mexico agreed to collaborate more closely on import monitoring.