Senate Appropriations Committee Includes Key Aluminum Program in Funding Bill
The Aluminum Association today applauded the Senate Committee on Appropriations for including funding for a new Aluminum Import Monitoring (AIM) system – a longtime policy priority for the Aluminum Association – in its fiscal year 2021 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
The committee allocated $1.3 million to fund the program, which the Commerce Department listed as a priority in its FY21 budget request earlier this year. The committee also encouraged the department to consult with the aluminum industry on implanting the program. The AIM system will enable government officials and the industry to better identify trends in trade flows and address misclassification, transshipment and evasion of duties.
“We are grateful for the committee’s leadership on this high priority issue for the U.S. aluminum industry, and we look forward to Congress taking action soon to enact this important provision in FY21 appropriations,” said Tom Dobbins, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “Getting bipartisan support in Congress is a crucial step to ensuring strong trade enforcement and a level-playing field for U.S. aluminum companies and the nearly 660,000 American workers they support. We look forward to working closely with the Commerce Department to launch a successful system that benefits the full aluminum value chain here in the U.S. As massive structural subsidies and overcapacity in China continue to drive the unfair trade of aluminum worldwide, it’s all the more important that the U.S. government is able to adequately track metal flows.”
Both the House and Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bills for FY21 include funding for aluminum import monitoring – echoing support from the bipartisan Congressional Aluminum Caucus. The Aluminum Association has called for a strong commitment to trade enforcement in North America as part of the recently approved U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Last year, Canada announced an expansion of its import monitoring system to include aluminum and aluminum products. Mexico made a similar commitment to “prevent the importation of aluminum and steel that is unfairly subsidized and/or sold at dumped prices” and “establish an agreed-upon process for monitoring aluminum and steel trade between them” but has not yet acted to formally monitor aluminum imports into Mexico, a step the Aluminum Association would strongly support. Imports of aluminum sheet and plate from China into Mexico have increased by nearly 150 percent in the past year and more than 1,700 percent since 2014.
“It is vital that we have strong trade enforcement to support a robust aluminum trade in North America. An integrated import monitoring system within the USMCA region is a critical step in this direction,” Dobbins added.
Like the House version of the bill, the Senate bill also included additional funding for the Department to implement its Section 232 exclusion review process. The association submitted a number of recommendations to the Commerce Department earlier this year, in response to a public inquiry about potential changes to the Section 232 exclusion program.
The House bill has already passed the floor, while the Senate bill has a few steps remaining before it can be considered by the full Senate.
About The Aluminum Association
The Aluminum Association represents aluminum production and jobs in the United States, ranging from primary production to value added products to recycling, as well as suppliers to the industry. The association is the industry’s leading voice, representing companies that make 70 percent of the aluminum and aluminum products shipped in North America. The association develops global standards, business intelligence, sustainability research and industry expertise for member companies, policymakers and the general public. The aluminum industry helps manufacturers produce sustainable and innovative products, including more fuel-efficient vehicles, recyclable packaging, greener buildings and modern electronics. In the U.S., the aluminum industry supports $172 billion in economic activity and nearly 660,000 jobs. For more information visit http://www.aluminum.org, on Twitter @AluminumNews or at Facebook.com/AluminumAssociation.