For Aluminum France and European Aluminum, the American announcement to temporarily exempt Europe from aluminum tariffs is a positive first step but insufficient to dispel the uncertainties and the negative impacts on our industry. Aluminum France and European Aluminum welcome the efforts of the European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, to reach a solid agreement with the United States.

Ms Malmström’s hard work vis-à-vis the US administration was a first step in the right direction by temporarily excluding Europe from the 10% tariff on all aluminum products. However, this decision opens the door to uncertainty for our industry.

“We invite the Commissioner and her American counterpart to continue the dialogue in order to focus the negotiations on the real problem, which is how to tackle Chinese overcapacity and confirm that Europe will be definitively excluded from these potentially unfair tariffs”, explained Gerd Götz, Managing Director of European Aluminum.

Aluminum France and European Aluminum have already expressed their concerns about the reorientation of aluminum flows from the targeted countries in Europe. They estimate increases in primary imports of 20% and 35% of semi-finished aluminum products. Despite a permanent tariff exclusion, this major danger will persist.

The French and European aluminum value chain is already facing enormous pressures from Chinese overcapacity which represents five times the total EU production and continues to grow. Chinese production increased from 5 to 13% in 2017 despite the shutdowns this winter in several aluminum smelters.

We encourage the Commissioner and the European Council to continue working hand in hand to redirect the flow of metals by implementing market surveillance and safeguard measures without delay. These actions should be complemented by a comprehensive and long-term solution to Chinese overcapacity, based on multilateral rules, such as a world aluminum forum within the G20.

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