Two American companies with domestic aluminum capacity, Century Aluminum and Magnitude 7 Metals, have lobbied intensely for the tariffs to be reimposed. In a statement Thursday, Michael Bless, the chief executive of Century Aluminum, said the move “demonstrates this administration’s continued dedication to restoring the U.S. aluminum industry” and “helps to secure continued domestic production of this vital strategic material.”
But the rest of the aluminum industry, which has operations spread around the globe, including in Canada, has fought against the measure. The multitude of industries that use aluminum to make products including cars, beer cans and washing machines, have also argued against the levies, saying they increase their costs and make their products less competitive globally. Even Whirlpool, the appliance maker where Mr. Trump made his announcement on Thursday, has seen its costs for raw materials rise as a result of the metal levies.
In June, executives from more than 15 of the world’s largest aluminum companies, including Alcoa, Constellium and Novelis, sent a letter to the Trump administration arguing against the tariffs.
“Fully 97 percent of U.S. aluminum industry jobs are in mid-and-downstream production and processing,” the letter read. “These jobs depend on a mix of domestic and imported primary aluminum, including from countries like Canada.”
Jim McGreevy, the chief executive of the Beer Institute, a trade association of beer producers and importers, said his group strongly opposed the decision.
“Since the implementation of aluminum tariffs in 2018, the American beverage industries have paid more than $582 million in tariffs,” he said. “Increased aluminum premiums due to tariffs increase the cost of beer production and force brewers to make difficult business decisions — especially amidst a global pandemic that has reduced overall sales while simultaneously increasing demand for aluminum cans.”
In a statement, Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, called the move “a step in the wrong direction” and urged the administration to reconsider.