US Aluminium Industry with Good Results in 2017 – Dependancy on China Imports Raises Questions

In 2017, the aluminum industry enjoyed its eighth straight year of continued domestic demand growth. However, our most recent estimates indicate that imported aluminum now satisfies roughly 33 %  of all demand – a record. Over the past 5 years, domestic imports of semi-fabricated aluminum have grown by around 53 %. This uptick in imports is being driven in large part due to aluminum overcapacity in China. In that same five-year period, Chinese imports of semi-fabricated products increased more than 228 %.  According to the latest industry data, Chinese primary aluminum capacity grew by 9 % in 2017 while capacity in the rest of the world declined by about 0,5 percent. Chinese primary aluminum capacity exceeded production by more than 9 Mt last year – which is five times all existing capacity in the United States.

Heidi Brock, President and CEO of the Aluminum Association said: “Ultimately, we favor a negotiated, enforceable government-to-government agreement with China on overcapacity. We look forward to working with the President on a final decision that helps support continued growth in the US aluminum industry”. The US aluminum industry helps manufacturers produce sustainable and innovative products, including more fuel-efficient vehicles, recyclable packaging, greener buildings and modern electronics. The industry supports 161 000 direct jobs and more than 700 000 jobs when indirect and induced impacts are considered. Further, the industry creates USD 75 billion in direct economic impact and USD 186 billion in total impact, around 1 % of the US GDP.

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