AAC Warns About Tariffs on Imported Primary Aluminum

The group says tariffs on imported primary aluminum products will likely be passed along the value chain until it impacts consumers, and they will make U.S. manufacturers of aluminum products even less competitive against low-cost producers like Chinese companies.

Anticipating a decision within the next week on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Section 232 investigation into aluminum imports, the Aluminum Anodizers Council (AAC) warns that any tariffs placed on primary aluminum will have a boomerang effect on the downstream consumers of aluminum products. 

Such tariffs furthermore will make U.S. manufacturers of aluminum products even less competitive against low-cost producers like China, the AAC says.

“What are at stake here are the U.S. manufacturing jobs that make products using aluminum that compete in a global market,” says Jack Tetrault, AAC chairman and president of Sanford Process Corp. “U.S. manufacturers may have to move facilities out of the U.S. if they are denied the global price for aluminum.”

Products such as windows and doors, storefronts, and curtainwalls compete for U.S. projects against a host of global competitors. ACC says the tariff will drive a price increase in the market that no other country will have to carry, and that the additional price burden on U.S. manufacturers will cost them business. Ultimately, that loss of that business will negatively impact aluminum anodizers. 

“With up to 70 percent of all anodized products going into the building and construction space, we are very vulnerable to non-value-adding price increases that we will be forced to pass along,” Tetrault says.
 
The Aluminum Anodizers Council has come out publicly in support of the Aluminum Extruders Council’s proposed remedy to place an aluminum content tariff on all Chinese imports. Like the extruders, AAC members see China as their primary competitor in the global market.  Even with the Aluminum Extruders Council’s trade protection against China, which places a tariff on the aluminum extrusion content in many building and construction end uses, the Chinese still win projects and jobs from U.S. providers, the organization says. A primary tariff will only give China a further price advantage, it adds.