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New U.S. metal tariffs would be ‘dumb,’ Canadian supply group says

Greg Layson, Automotive News Canada
June 23, 2020

The Trump administration is considering re-imposing tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada and an announcement could come by the end of the week, according to people familiar with the matter. And just the possibility of the tariffs has drawn the ire and criticism of the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

If Canada refuses to impose export restrictions on aluminum, the U.S. will announce Friday the re-imposition of 10-per-cent tariffs on aluminum from the country and implement the tariffs by July 1, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Flavio Volpe, head of the APMA, is worried the United States will also tax imported Canadian.

“The administration has always had a distorted sense of the national interest because they confuse it with the re-election of a president who would sell it to pay personal debts. A foreign policy bent that punishes trading partners, goes easy on dictatorships and costs Americans more per capita is a trifecta that smart people should actually be embarrassed about.”

Volpe said any new tariffs would “reconfigure sourcing dynamics” for his members that supply the North American auto industry with parts.

“Canadian based suppliers of aluminum parts can buy in-country without penalty. However, what we saw in the last metals tariff fight is that American aluminum suppliers arbitrarily raise their prices to sit somewhere just under the new tariff-adjusted rate,” he said in his statement. “That means everyone in both countries pays nine per cent more on aluminum if the tariff is 10 per cent. Dumb.”

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