Trump-Era Aluminum Tariffs Revived U.S. Industry – Think Tank
US tariffs on aluminum imports imposed since the Trump presidency have resulted in increased production, employment and capital investment by domestic manufacturers, new report from the Left Economic Policy Institute says .
The study released Tuesday by the Washington-based think tank said the 10% tariffs on Section 232 aluminum, introduced in March 2018 and still in effect under President Joe Biden, led to $ 6 billion. dollars in 57 downstream aluminum products projects.
The projects will employ more than 4,500 additional workers and add more than 1.1 million metric tonnes to annual rolling and extrusion capacity, according to the report.
“The resurgence of the US aluminum industry – with apparently minimal ripple effects in other parts of the economy – belies claims by critics, experts and representatives of many companies in downstream industries, who argued that Section 232 tariffs would have a devastating negative impact on a wide range of domestic industries, “EPI economists Adam Hersh and Robert Scott wrote in the report.
The report also credits tariffs with a 37.6% increase in primary aluminum smelting between March 2018 and February 2020, compared to the previous two-year period, adding 1,095 jobs and reviving an industry that had been devastated by the subsidized imports from China, India, Russia and the Gulf.
Former EPI chairwoman, trade economist Thea Lee, was named earlier this month by the Biden administration as head of the Department of Labor’s international affairs office, an office that helps enforce labor rights provisions in US trade agreements. Read more .
The new study comes as U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai begins talks with her European Union counterparts to resolve disputes over U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminum. Read more
US steel industry groups, citing a similar EPI study supporting Section 232 steel tariffs, urged Biden last week to keep those tariffs in place. Read more
The report argues that the causal relationship between the prices of primary aluminum and those of finished products made from aluminum, including canned beer, construction products, furniture and vehicle bodies automobiles, shows that the effects are “statistically nil to economically insignificant”.
WHISKEY WOES QUESTION
The EPI also said the EU’s retaliatory 25% tariffs on US whiskey introduced in June 2018 have not hurt overall production, citing annualized volume growth of 6.8% from 2017 to 2020. , faster than the rates of the previous three years. While acknowledging that whiskey exports to the EU have declined, he noted that exports to the rest of the world are also declining.
“US whiskey producers have found more profitable uses in domestic markets for the whiskey they were already producing,” the study said.
Distilled Spirits Council spokesperson Lisa Hawkins disagrees with EPI report findings, saying small artisanal distillers have been hit particularly hard by tariffs, which have cut exports of American whiskey to the EU by 37% and the UK by 53%.
“It doesn’t take an economist to see that these tariffs have a devastating impact on the US distilled spirits industry,” she added.
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