Good morning; Further to our recent Press Release, advising about a choice of recommendations, regarding steel and aluminum imports, placed on the President’s desk, Wadih Kuri, President and CEO said today “as you will probably have heard on the news today, I said that we have been following this closely, and that I would keep you informed.
On Thursday, earlier today, March 1st, a pre-announcement was made during a televised meeting with steel and aluminum leaders. As mentioned in my previous update, Statute 232 under the Trade Expansion Act passed in 1962, is specifically concerned with ensuring that in a time of conflict, the U.S. will have sufficient capacity to provide the steel and aluminum resources needed to be self-sustaining. In recent years, steel mills have closed, and the number of aluminum smelters has greatly diminished.
This is of course because primarily China has been ‘dumping’ large quantities of aluminum products, adversely affecting the U.S. primary steel and aluminum industries.
According to the Associated Press, it is completely unclear whether tariffs would be applied more broadly, as a form of protectionism, and which countries will be exempted.
There is division within the Cabinet, with the Commerce Department being pro, and, for example, General Mattis speaking against. In addition, the EU has already spoken out strongly, as has Canada, and behind the scenes, Mexico.
One can only imagine that the purpose of the pre-announcement was, in part, designed to allow lobbying to go into full gear, in order that push-back and voices from within Government, and all parties potentially affected, such as international trading partners with the U.S., have their say, with pressure applied accordingly.
This is a fluid situation, and I will be back to you as we learn more, but I am sure that there is no need for concern regarding Mexico being caught up in this; China of course will be very concerned, and their reaction will likely be unpredictable”.
Wadih Kuri added:
“ABC has been following these developments closely, as long-term members of the Aluminum Extruders Council and the Aluminum Association.
“Statute 232 is rarely exercised, but with pressure from Chinese imports and overproduction, also Vietnam, on U.S. smelters, with many being shut down as a result, there has been natural concern regarding the United States’ independence regarding primary production.”
As reported previously, there is a concurrent case regarding alleged dumping of Chinese-subsidized curtain wall products that is working its way through the Courts that we also are monitoring and contributing finance for, in support of the Aluminum Extruders Council’s efforts, and that case is going well at this moment.
And ABC has a seat on the Aluminum Association’s Government Affairs Committee, based close to the Capitol in Washington D.C.; so, we are kept closely informed, and we participate in, all matters affecting the industry.
We continue to monitor this evolving situation. Should there be any questions at all with news in the media regarding this Report that may raise cause for concern, please do immediately call ABC, and you can ask for me, on 619 240 3526 – Nadia Alcaraz will answer, and forward – so that we can address. Or Tim Evans, our Marketing Director on direct cell 858 380 7364. Thank you.”