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Aluminum summit players take aim at U.S. tariffs


June 5, 2018  


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In the run-up to the June 8-9 G7 Summit, the Montreal Aluminum Summit has gathered representatives from those countries and industry stakeholders to speak out on the recent U.S. tariff increases on aluminum and steel.

Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy Dominique Anglade and Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie and Minister responsible for the Laurentides region Christine St-Pierre, took advantage of the opportunity to reiterate that the U.S. government’s decision to levy tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada will have adverse impacts on both sides of the border and that the government intends to do everything possible to counteract this frontal assault on the Québec economy. 

Initially, the objective of the Summit, organized by the Aluminum Association of Canada, was to elaborate an action plan prior to the establishment of a global forum focusing on production overcapacity in the aluminum industry, an initiative that the Québec government supports. But that changed with the reintroduction of tariffs by the Trump administration.

According to a press release from the summit, companies and some 30,000 steel and aluminum workers can rely on the unfailing support of the government as they face new protectionist measures imposed by the American authorities.

“The aluminum industry is a genuine economic driving force for Québec and I am convinced that our discussions at the Summit will enable us to respond to the challenges concerning the industry’s future,” said Anglade. “By encouraging governments and multilateral institutions to mobilize with respect to shared objectives aimed, among other things, at providing concrete solutions to the challenge that production overcapacity in the aluminum sector and protectionism pose, it is assuredly by working together that our industry and its numerous stakeholders will emerge the winners.”

According to St-Pierre, the federal government attaches considerable importance to market openness, which goes hand in hand with the growth of our economy.

“For this reason, we unreservedly condemn the U.S. government’s decision to levy such tariffs,” she said. “Events such as this one, which assemble both public decision-makers and industry representatives, enable us not only to emphasize the unique ties that Québec and Canada maintain with the G7 member countries but also offers new business opportunities for Québec firms active in this important area of activity in the Québec economy.”

Highlights:

• In 2017, Québec aluminum exports stood at $8 billion. Exports to the United States alone totalled nearly $7 billion;

• In Québec, the aluminium industry generates nearly 30 000 jobs, nearly 7 000 of them in the primary industry; and

• On May 31, 2018, the US government levied a 10% tariff on aluminum and a 25% tariff on steel exported to the United States by CanadaMexico and the European Union.