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European Aluminium calls for EU response to US tariffs

09 Mar 2018 11:52 GMT
European Aluminium calls for EU response to US tariffs

London, 9 March (Argus) — Trade association European Aluminium has requested immediate market surveillance in the EU and the implementation of safeguards if required in response to US president Donald Trump's imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

European Aluminium said it is confident that the European Commission will do all it can to exempt EU states from the 10pc tariff on aluminium imports before it takes effect on 23 March. The commission on 7 March said it is analysing safeguard measures for its steel and aluminium sectors in the event of future US tariffs leading to a significant diversion of trade flows to Europe.

"As a long-standing political ally with strongly interlinked aluminium value chains and numerous multinationals operating in both territories, Europe should have been exempted from the tariff," European Aluminium director general Gerd Gotz said. "The EU currently exports €1.2 billion [$1.5 billion] of direct aluminium products to the US and shares many industrial clusters, innovation hubs and transatlantic synergies."

Even if Europe is exempt from the US tariff, it would still redirect exports away from the US to other destinations, potentially causing oversupply in those markets. European Aluminium estimates that primary aluminium exports to the EU could increase by 20pc and semi-fabricated products deliveries by 35pc.

The European aluminium value chain is already under pressure from Chinese overcapacity, and tariffs could have severe consequences for businesses across Europe. As well as implementing immediate market surveillance, European Aluminium has asked the European Council to hold an extraordinary meeting to endorse the measures.

Many have condemned Trump's decision to introduce tariffs, including European steel association Eurofer, China's nonferrous metals association CNIA, and Japanese government officials.