On August 6, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation reimposing the 10% ad valorem tariff on imports of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum products from Canada. Referencing his original Section 232 Proclamation No. 9704 of March 8, 2018 (see Update of March 8, 2018), President Trump stated that imports of this form of aluminum had “increased substantially” and were “principally responsible for the 27 percent increase in total aluminum imports from Canada during June 2019 through May 2020.” In separate press remarks, the president said that he “agreed to lift those tariffs in return for a promise from the Canadian government that its aluminum industry would not flood our country with exports and kill all our aluminum jobs, which is exactly what they did. Canadian aluminum producers have broken that commitment, and the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, has advised me that this step to re-impose tariffs is absolutely necessary to defend our aluminum industry.”
As a result, imports of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum provided for in Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) subheading 7601.10 will again, as of August 16, 2020, be subject to the 10% duty. The proclamation explains that tariff exclusions granted by the Department of Commerce for aluminum products from Canada that have not expired will remain valid and that previously granted exclusions that have expired may be renewed.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, in a press statement, responded: “Canadian aluminum does not undermine U.S. national security. Canadian aluminum strengthens U.S. national security and has done so for decades through unparalleled cooperation between our two countries. Canada is a reliable supplier of aluminum for American value-added manufacturers. Aluminum trade between Canada and the U.S. has long been mutually beneficial economically for both countries, making the North American aluminum industry as a whole more competitive around the world.” Her statement concluded by indicating that Canada will “swiftly impose dollar-for-dollar countermeasures.”