USW Calls for Broad Action to Ensure Aluminum Supplies For U.S. Security and Critical Infrastructure

CONTACT: Holly Hart (202) 778-4384, hhart@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement as the U.S. Department of Commerce conducted a hearing in support of the Administration’s Section 232 Investigation into unfairly traded aluminum imports. In April, the Administration initiated an investigation to examine the effect of these imports on the U.S. aluminum industry. At today’s hearing, Robert Smith, president of USW Local 420-A in Massena, N.Y., testified.

“This action comes at a critical time,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.  “Chinese unfair and predatory trade practices have undermined global markets in aluminum.   Just a few short years ago, the United States had 14 aluminum smelters in operation. Today, the number is five, with most operating at a reduced capacity.   

“Aluminum is an essential material used throughout the defense sector and in critical infrastructure. From ballistic-resistant aluminum and missile skins to products used in electrical generation applications, aluminum is a vital commodity.

“Global aluminum markets operate somewhat differently than steel and other commodity markets. China’s overcapacity and overproduction have suppressed world prices, threatening the operations of market-based companies in the United States, thereby endangering our nation’s ability to provide aluminum for its national and economic security needs.       

“The problem is unfair trade, and action must be directed at limiting those practices.  Eliminating overcapacity and overproduction in China should be the focus of those efforts.”

Robert Smith, said in his prepared testimony that “Swift governmental action is critical if the American aluminum industry is to survive and continue to provide good jobs for American workers, the highest quality products to the American military, and critical infrastructure.”

In conjunction with the hearing today, the USW also released a formal statement for the record and a background paper identifying the underlying problems in the sector.

The USW has been actively working with the Administration as it continues its Section 232 investigation. As part of its submissions, the USW has called for Canada to be exempt from coverage under any relief measures that might be authorized. Canada has a unique national security relationship with the United States and supplies significant portions of U.S. needs in the aluminum sector.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

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