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US reimposes tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada

Trump says Canada broke commitment as trade association warns US should not be picking trade battles

Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 06.08.2020
US reimposes tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada

WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump said Thursday he reimposed tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada, claiming Ottawa has been dumping into US markets. 

Addressing supporters at a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Ohio, Trump accused the Canadian government of reneging on a commitment to ensure its industry "would not flood our country with exports and kill all our aluminum jobs," saying he had already signed a proclamation entering the penalties into effect.

"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," he said in a speech that read like a campaign rally.

"To be a strong nation America must be a manufacturing nation, and not be led by a bunch of fools."

Trump initially imposed 10% import duties on Canada in 2018 under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act over alleged national security concerns, but removed them in 2019 as part of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that took effect July 1.

Aluminum Association President and CEO Tom Dobbins said that day that Trumps' decision to rescind the duties "is still working for the U.S. aluminum industry and the 690,000 American jobs it supports," and added on Thursday that the drive to reimpose the tariffs is being driven by a "few companies who stand to benefit from reinstated Section 232 aluminum tariffs"

He pointed to data from the US Census Bureau that shows overall imports of Canadian aluminum down 2.6% from May to June, and lower by about 5% for the first six months of the year compared to 2017.

"Especially now, the U.S. should be focused on getting the manufacturing economy going again in the region – not picking battles with USMCA trading partners. With U.S. aluminum demand down almost 25 percent so far in 2020 – the first decline in nearly a decade – the industry can simply not afford more shocks to the market,” he said.

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