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Aluminum ingots stacked in a warehouse.

U.S. to Penalize Russian Aluminum Imports

Feb. 6, 2023
The Biden Administration will impose a 200% import tariff on Russian aluminum products, according to sources citing government officials, as punishment for dumping below-cost aluminum, and in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. trade authorities are set to institute a 200% import tariff on Russian aluminum products, according to published sources citing government officials. The sources claim the move is an effort to punish Russia for dumping aluminum in the domestic market, as well as to pressure that country in response to its invasion of Ukraine. The first anniversary of the war is approaching later this month.

Prices for aluminum and other Russian commodities rose in March and April 2022 following the invasion, though that situation normalized subsequently.

With 3.6 million metric tons of primary aluminum output (2020), Russia is the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of aluminum, following China (3.8 million mt/year) and tied with India. As Chinese imports to the U.S. are comparatively low, tariffs could have an effect on the domestic supply chain.

No confirmation or denial of a pending announcement has been provided by the U.S. Commerce Dept. or U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The Commerce Department is responsible for proposing and enforcing tariffs, though the U.S. International Trade Commission is responsible for determining the validity of penalties in global trade cases.

The pending tariff has been under discussion since last fall, according to Bloomberg News. In October 2022, a White House source confirmed to Reuters that “all options” were in consideration regarding Russian aluminum exports.

Prior to the invasion, in September 2021, Commerce established a 62.2% penalty on imports of Russian aluminum foil.

The global aluminum trade is complex due to the nature of aluminum production, the many grades of material and the variety of end products, and the numerous industrial applications for the light metal.

In separate but related news, U.S. Customs officials reportedly now are detaining imports of Chinese aluminum products alleged to have been produced by forced labor in the Xinjiang region, under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act of 2021.

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