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Aluminum Tariffs Would Make Mockery of NAFTA 2 and Ignore the Real Problem

TORONTO, MONTREAL – Reports that new U.S. tariffs will be imposed on Canadian aluminum exports – in the very week that a new North American trade deal takes effect – make a mockery of the agreement, threaten thousands of Canadian jobs and ignore the real problem facing the industry, the United Steelworkers (USW) union says.

“The re-imposition of unjustified tariffs would be a failure and would not address the real problem – overcapacity of production of illegally subsidized Chinese aluminum,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann. “That’s why we are working with the Canadian government to find solutions to this situation.”

The Canada-US-Mexico Agreement was ratified without ensuring that the deal would preclude future U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. The Trump administration had imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel in 2018, citing baseless “national security” concerns. The tariffs were lifted in May 2019, following an aggressive lobbying campaign led by the USW.

“Our union fought for more than a year, on both sides of the border, to oppose those bogus tariffs. We do not want to find ourselves in the same situation, where we have to fight this same battle again,” said United Steelworkers Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux.

“Virtually everyone agrees, including unions and major aluminum producers in the U.S., that there is no justification for new tariffs on Canadian aluminum,” Lemieux said.

“Our two countries benefit from an integrated aluminum market. Canadian aluminum producers engage in fair trade and do not pose any national security threat to the United States. The problem lies elsewhere,” he said.

According to the Aluminum Association of the U.S., representing major producers Alcoa and Rio Tinto as well as many manufacturers of aluminum products, the real problem facing the industry is China’s overcapacity of production of illegally subsidized aluminum.

“The Canadian and U.S. economies have been battered by an uncontrolled virus and its impact on production and jobs. We continue to urge that our two countries work together to make sure that, as our economies slowly recover, we have policies that allow for shared growth and opportunity,” said USW International President Thomas M. Conway.

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For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Jocelyn Desjardins, USW Communications (Montreal), 514-604-6273, jdesjardins@metallos.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications (Toronto), 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Bob Gallagher
bgallagher@usw.ca
416-544-5966 or
416-434-2221

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Nicole Desnoyers
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416-544-5991 

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy
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514-774-4001 

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