Executive Briefings

Steelworkers Union Ends Call to Limit U.S. Aluminum Imports

The United Steelworkers union has suspended indefinitely an unusual effort to push the United States government to restrict all aluminum imports after the campaign ran into opposition from aluminum companies, the Canadian government and even Canadian members of the union.

The union on Friday withdrew its petition to an American trade panel, which was filed the preceding Monday, after an aluminum industry group agreed to work with the union to address its main concern: Chinese aluminum production overcapacity and exports. "The Aluminum Association shares many of the concerns expressed by the United Steelworkers regarding Chinese aluminum overproduction," the group said in a statement. "Overcapacity must be addressed to maintain a vibrant and healthy North American aluminum industry."

The statement provided no specifics, saying only that, “The industry supports ongoing efforts by the U.S. and Chinese governments to address this critical issue.”

China’s aluminum exports have surged as the country’s economy slows. Those exports have displaced Canadian exports in some international markets, triggering an increase in Canadian shipments to the United States, where they now account for two-thirds of all American imports of raw aluminum.

At the same time, American companies including Alcoa have also been expanding in countries, including Canada, Iceland and Saudi Arabia while closing less efficient operations in the United States.

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The union on Friday withdrew its petition to an American trade panel, which was filed the preceding Monday, after an aluminum industry group agreed to work with the union to address its main concern: Chinese aluminum production overcapacity and exports. "The Aluminum Association shares many of the concerns expressed by the United Steelworkers regarding Chinese aluminum overproduction," the group said in a statement. "Overcapacity must be addressed to maintain a vibrant and healthy North American aluminum industry."

The statement provided no specifics, saying only that, “The industry supports ongoing efforts by the U.S. and Chinese governments to address this critical issue.”

China’s aluminum exports have surged as the country’s economy slows. Those exports have displaced Canadian exports in some international markets, triggering an increase in Canadian shipments to the United States, where they now account for two-thirds of all American imports of raw aluminum.

At the same time, American companies including Alcoa have also been expanding in countries, including Canada, Iceland and Saudi Arabia while closing less efficient operations in the United States.

Read Full Article