Brussels — The US Department of Commerce yesterday held a public hearing on investigation into the impact of aluminium imports on US national security. Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium, testified on behalf of the European aluminium industry. „European Aluminium shares the concerns of the US government regarding the significant Chinese aluminium overcapacity and its impact on the US and European industries, despite the healthy demand for aluminium worldwide“, he argued.
According to Götz, the European industry believes that addressing the root causes of these problems requires continued joint efforts between the US, Europe and Canada. So he urged the US Administration to take into account that:
- European imports of aluminium pose no threat to US national security and should be excluded from any proposed action under the current investigation;
- The nature of the transatlantic aluminium industry (we are united in our day-to- day business) is interconnected;
- The common threat we face requires a strong US – Europe coalition
1. First, imports of aluminium products from Europe, in view of both their quantity and characteristics, do not constitute a threat to the US National Security. Although the percentage of US imports of aluminium has increased in past years, the percentage originating from Europe has remain stable over the past decade. Europe accounts for a relatively modest part of US imports and supplies specialty, high value added products to US consumers. the US is not dependent on European imports for its national security requirements, including national defence. Moreover, Europe is one of the most stable and reliable suppliers of aluminium products to the US. Further, the European aluminium industry truly functions under market economy conditions and does not suffer from subsidization or excess capacity. Europe produces “fair” aluminium products and plays by the rules.
2. The second point is that the American and European aluminium industries are strongly interlinked. The countries are truly united in day-to-day business. Demand for aluminium products is global and supply is more and more structured globally, not regionally. Approximately 15 multinationals are members of both the European Aluminium and the American Aluminum Association and supply daily a vast majority of the entire aluminium value chain on both sides of the Atlantic. Together they own approximately 80 production and manufacturing facilities in Europe, and 75 in the US and employ a large number of American workers. These companies constitute a Transatlantic eco-system. Weakening the European side of their value chain will affect the US business
3. Nine months ago, on the true underlying problem of Chinese aluminium overcapacity, many parties testified about the importance of having a global solution to this unsustainable global risk. The ongoing cooperation at G7 and G20 level is indispensable to address the root causes of this structural threat. This requires continued joint efforts between the US, Europe and other like-minded governments. Moreover, we will continue to urge governments globally to address the effects of excess capacity on prices and quantities with traditional trade instruments, including through the WTO. Restrictive actions based on the current nvestigation on national security will not provide lasting solutions that the markets need and may have unintended consequences that would lead to further market distortions.
As the Director General of European Aluminium, Götz spoke on behalf of the entire aluminium value chain in wider Europe from smelting to rolling and extrusion to recycling – more than 80 members with about 600 plants in 30 countries. A considerable number of the members operate production facilities, in both Europe and the US. Götz finally: „The conclusion is clear: Continued joint efforts between the US and Europe are necessary to tackle the root causes of the global excess capacity and to secure balance in the US and European aluminium markets.“
Source: European Aluminium