APAA Calls on Ambassador Lighthizer to Restore Tariffs on Surging Canadian Aluminum Imports

APAA Letter – The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer U.S. Trade Representative

Yesterday, the American Primary Aluminum Association (APAA) delivered a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary Wilbur Ross providing important data to bring awareness to the surge of Canadian aluminum imports to the United States that is threatening the viability of the domestic primary aluminum industry.

In the letter, the APAA calls on the Trump Administration to save the American primary aluminum industry by repealing Canada’s exemption to the Section 232 tariffs that occurred one-year ago in May 2019. The agreement between the U.S. and Canada that waived the tariffs expressly provides for this surge remedy. Preserving the U.S. primary aluminum industry, including the production of military-grade primary aluminum, was one of the principal drivers of the Section 232 investigation and the resulting tariffs.

“While Canadian producers want the windfall of avoiding Section 232 duties, the Canadian surge is destroying what remains of the U.S. industry,” remarked Mark Duffy, Chief Executive Officer of the APAA. “One U.S. smelter in Washington state is slated to be shuttered and another in Indiana is under strategic review. The New Madrid smelter in Missouri has warned that they are at imminent risk of shut down unless the Canadian surge is addressed. We urge the Administration to reimpose the 10% tariff on aluminum imports from Canada to save American aluminum jobs.”

The letter goes on to explain that if U.S. smelters continue to shutter, the U.S. will only become more dependent on offshore primary aluminum supply. This situation will increase supply chain vulnerability at the very time the U.S. is seeking to preserve a threshold level of production at home.

Dems Must Embrace ‘America First’ Trade Policy to Win in Fall

The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting almost every component of daily life in the United States, with more and more Americans coming to terms with what the “new normal” will look like. Yet, despite the tremendous shock waves with more than 90,000 dead and millions unemployed, our politics is regrettably more polarized than ever. Fortunately, there is an issue on which Joe Biden and Donald Trump can find common ground by standing with American manufacturing workers who are essential to a strong national economy and vibrant middle class.

As a governor and senator representing Indiana for many years, I’m the first to admit that policies hurting Indiana workers are deeply personal to me. The Hoosier State has more manufacturing employment per capita than any other. These issues also run in my family. In 1980, my father, also a U.S. senator, made his final campaign stop at the Alcoa smelter in Warrick County, Indiana. Recently, the smelter fell into dire straits as illegal, subsidized foreign aluminum surged into the United States, forcing the location to be shuttered.

However, under the Section 232 aluminum program, which gives the president authority to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, the plant was successfully restarted in 2018, bringing back more than 600 great Indiana workers with good jobs that support their families and the local community.

Unfortunately, those 600 jobs are once again threatened. The Canadian government, holding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement hostage, lobbied Congress and the administration to lift the Section 232 aluminum tariffs in exchange for Canada agreeing not to surge aluminum exports.

But Canada has not honored its commitment, and aluminum imports from Canada once again are surging into the United States.

Regrettably, in recent days, this surge caused 700 American aluminum workers to lose their jobs in Washington state. While American aluminum workers are feeling the pain, these jobs are being outsourced to Canada, where a Canadian smelter was restarted after the government there provided subsidies to its industry in response to the Section 232 tariffs. Once again, it was announced that the Warrick County, Indiana smelter is up for “strategic review” and possible closure as well.

While I support a rules-based trading system, this only works if those standards are enforced. The Canadian government agreed that if their producers surged imports into the United States, undermining the relief, the tariffs could be re-imposed. Objectively, the current Canadian surge is in violation of that commitment. The Democratic Party has supported a rules-based trading system for decades now, and we hope that Republicans and the Trump administration will too. We must be willing to enforce those rules, if we are going to ensure that our trading partners live up to the commitments that they agreed to. Canada made a commitment; we must now ensure that they live up to that pledge.

My tenure on the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees helped me understand the importance of protecting domestic U.S. supply chains, strengthening the defense industrial base, and putting national security at the heart of U.S. policymaking. Primary aluminum production is essential to U.S. supply chains and plays a very critical part to our national security infrastructure. The current pandemic reminds us that maintaining a healthy domestic supply chain to keep essential industries running is crucial to our national well-being.

To protect American manufacturing workers in Indiana and to put economic and national security first, we must restore a broad-based 10% tariff on all imports of aluminum, including from Canada, and reduce exemptions. This is a very simple and easy policy fix that only requires our trading partners to live up to their commitments.

My message is simple: The elections this fall will be close and probably be decided by middle-class workers who feel fed up with both Washington and foreign nations that break the rules at our expense. Both presidential candidates and both parties have a strong interest in leveling the playing field for manufacturing.

I am confident our next president and our next majority party in the Senate will succeed by standing with manufacturing workers in critical swing states and standing up for American aluminum workers in Indiana and elsewhere across our great nation.

I have no doubt that we can ultimately prevail against the global pandemic and the economic destruction it is causing. To do so, we will need leaders – Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Republicans, Democrats – with the courage and strength to insist on a good deal for American manufacturing.

Evan Bayh served as a U.S. senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011 and as the 46th governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.

Mike Huckabee: Globalist Democrats decimate America’s aluminum jobs

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend American life, sending ripple effects across the country and throughout the economy. With the announcement that 30 million Americans are filing for unemployment, times are tough for hardworking American families. 

It is no secret that the exceptionalism of American manufacturing has been on the decline as past administrations prioritized globalization over the well-being of hardworking American families. President Trump knows it, and he and his team are fighting every day to create and keep more manufacturing jobs in the United States. And during the pandemic, Americans have learned that when we depend on foreign countries like China to make our drugs, protective health gear and even our toilet paper we get “wiped out.”  

It is shocking to see congressional Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi support unfair trade policies that hurt American workers. In recent days, 700 American manufacturing workers lost their jobs in Washington state due to an unprecedented surge of aluminum from Canada. The great outrage is when media goons team up with their soulmates on the left to accuse those who support America First policies of racism and xenophobia. When an American worker loses his or her job to “America Last” policies of the left, those jobs are lost by men, women, black, brown, white. Their ability to put food on their family’s table has been decimated.  

The globalist Democrats led by Rep. Suzan DelBene, Washington Democrat, caved to a massive lobbying effort by the Canadian government and its aluminum producers to proactively push for a tariff exemption for Canadian aluminum imports into the United States. The Canadian government worked with the globalist Democrats to tie the lifting of aluminum tariffs to passage of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). As a result of these actions by the globalist Democrats in Congress, 700 workers in Mrs. DelBene’s district are now out of work and thousands of more jobs are on the line. One wonders what country’s Congress does she work for?

While the Canadian government was busy lobbying congressional Democrats to lift the tariffs, the Canadian government stuffed its aluminum industry with subsidies that support projects at smelters valued over $550 million (Canadian). These subsidies also helped another Quebec smelter, which was idled, to restart its production just as the tariffs were lifted against Canada.

The lifting of the tariffs and the Canadian subsidies effectively outsourced the 700 jobs in Washington state to Quebec. Since the announcement of these subsidies, Canadian aluminum imports have surged over 70 percent, threatening thousands of American aluminum jobs in southern Missouri, New York, Kentucky and South Carolina.

President Trump showed tremendous leadership by imposing 10 percent tariffs on all foreign aluminum imports to protect us from countries that cheat. Sadly, the Canadian government worked with the globalist Democrats in Congress to exempt Canada from Mr. Trump’s Section 232 tariff program. Canada insisted that it would not surge its production beyond historic norms. Instead, Canada stuffed their aluminum industry with massive additional subsidies and surged volume far above historic norms in violation of their commitments. So much for “fair trade.”