By Tina Allagh via Platts | Nov 19, 2015

Illegal subsidies to the Chinese aluminum industry are hurting jobs and aluminum smelting in the US, said Michael Bless, president and CEO of Century Aluminum, who attributes six-year low aluminum prices to those subsidies.

Speaking Thursday at a China Trade Task Force Event in Washington, Bless said in 2015 alone half of the aluminum smelters in the US have announced they will close by year’s end. Of the remaining operating smelters, 75% have announced significant production cutbacks and associated layoffs.

“This industry is key to the US economy,” he said.

Bless said in a letter to the US presidential candidates earlier this month that the “aggressive and illegal” subsidies are posing a risk to “tens of thousands of American jobs.” He expects the primary aluminum industry will lose 3,300 jobs this year “as a result of China manipulating the global aluminum market and not playing by the rules. … Every US smelter is at risk due to Chinese overcapacity and unfair subsidization.”…