On September 15, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a statement that it will “modify the terms of the 10% tariff imposed in August on imports of Canadian non-alloyed unwrought aluminum.” The United States will resume duty-free treatment of the Canadian aluminum retroactive to September 1, 2020, based on the expectations that trade will “normalize” in the last four months of 2020 after earlier surges. However, tariffs could be imposed again retroactively for September-December, if shipment volumes exceed 105% of the stated volumes.
On August 6, 2020, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation reimposing the 10% ad valorem tariff on imports of non-alloyed unwrought aluminum products from Canada and stating 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.” After the U.S. proclamation, the Canadian government issued a notice of intent to impose countermeasures against the United States in response to the tariffs. For more information on these actions, please see previous updates dated March 8, 2018, August 7, 2020 and August 10, 2020.
The USTR’s most recent statement was announced as Canada was set to impose retaliatory measures against imports of U.S. aluminum and aluminum-containing products. The USTR’s statement establishes monthly targets for the volume of aluminum imports the United States will accept from Canada without a tariff, and the USTR noted that it will monitor export volumes six weeks after the end of every month through December 2020 to ensure duty-free treatment remains warranted.