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August 17, 2020

Companies Have Until Early September To Comment On Retaliatory Tariffs

As Connecting the Dots reported last week, the United States began imposing a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imported from Canada on August 16. While the Canadian government has not yet announced how it will react to the new penalties, officials have said they are considering up to $3.6 in retaliatory tariffs. According to CTV News, the list of products being considered for new levies include aluminum tube or pipe fittings, aluminum ores and concentrates, and slag, ash and residues, containing mainly aluminum.

Canada is holding a 30-day consultation on the list of potential U.S. aluminum products to be subject to the surtax. The deadline for submissions is September 6, 2020. Canadians and Canadian businesses are encouraged to comment on the proposed list of affected Canadian imports of U.S. goods, and to express support for, or concerns respecting, the proposed countermeasures. At a minimum, comments should include the following information:

  • Canadian company/industry association name and contact person.
  • Relevant eight-digit tariff item(s) and description of the goods of particular interest.
  • Reasons for the expressed support for, or concern with, the proposed countermeasures, including detailed information substantiating any expected beneficial or adverse impact.
  • Identification of information provided in the submissions that is commercially sensitive.

All comments and general inquiries should be sent to the following email address: fin.tariff-tarif.fin@canada.ca. Only submissions by email will be accepted. Include the term “Aluminum countermeasures” in the subject line of your submission.

Kristen Hillman Canada’s ambassador to the United States, also took aim at the U.S. tariffs, arguing it will not be U.S. metals companies that benefit from the penalties. She said, “The beneficiary of this tariff is a Swiss trading company and Rusal aluminum of Russia … Century Aluminum and Magnitude 7 Metals have been calling for this measure, and the rest of the industry, which represents 97 percent of American jobs in the aluminum sector, they oppose these taxes on their operations.”

As a reminder, the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) has opposed Section 232 penalties on products from Canada since the very start of the Trump administration’s deliberations on the issue. (Click here to see MSCI’s original testimony on the administration’s Section 232 aluminum investigation.)

Regarding last week’s decision, MSCI President and CEO M. Robert Weidner III said, “This decision is disappointing. From the start of the administration’s Section 232 investigations we have urged both Canada and the United States to keep their focus on the real source of oversupply: China. North American trading partners have strong relationships that provide good jobs on both sides of the border. We’d like to see the White House reconsider this action.”