USW: Trade Actions on Aluminum Need to Focus on Real Problem

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

USW International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement in conjunction with the Trump administration’s announcement of a Section 232 investigation on aluminum. The USW represents thousands of workers in the aluminum industry in Canada and the U.S.  In the U.S., aluminum production and employment is down dramatically as a result of China’s massive subsidies and government programs that continue to contribute to global excess capacity.

“The Section 232 action will help identify the importance of aluminum, but it may not identify the right response: China’s overcapacity is swamping world markets, driving down prices and making some operations unprofitable,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President.

“China is the problem, not Canada or other countries which are following the rules. Our goal should be fair trade, not just walling off the U.S. market. That’s what the Steelworkers have fought for, for years,” Gerard said.

“The Obama administration started action against China for the trade policies it uses to undermine world markets. Continuation of that case at the WTO is vital in the aluminum sector to get China to abide by market rules.

“Depending on the outcome of the administration’s 232 investigation, any action should be focused on those countries that are actually breaking the rules. Canada should be excluded from any potential trade actions in this sector.

“Last week, the Trump administration initiated an investigation under the same section of U.S. trade law on steel. In steel, like aluminum, Canada is not the problem. In fact, in steel, the U.S. has a generally balanced trade relationship with Canada. Canada should be exempted from any potential action in that sector as well.

“The government of Canada should work with the U.S. in fighting against Chinese unfair and predatory trade practices, including circumvention and evasion of trade laws in both our countries. China and other countries that break the rules must not be allowed to injure workers in either of our countries.”

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.

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