This Morning in Metals: Aluminum Association Says Quotas are ‘Bad Deal’ for American Workers

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This morning in metals news, the Aluminum Association released a report panning aluminum import quotas, Republican senators urged President Donald Trump not to impose tariffs on imported automobiles and U.S. automotive sector layoffs in 2019 have surged.

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Aluminum Association Comes in Against Quotas

The U.S.’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in effect for trading partners Canada and Mexico, with whom negotiations continue vis-a-vis the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The extant tariffs are a sticking point in the approval of the agreement, which would succeed the 1994 NAFTA if passed.

One option on the table is for the U.S. to rescind the tariffs but apply quotas on imports of the metals from the two countries. The Aluminum Association, however, panned the idea of quotas in a one-page report released recently.

“Quotas will make it harder for aluminum companies to grow and invest in the U.S.,” the report states. “Instead of across-the-board tariffs or quotas on responsible trading partners, the U.S. aluminum industry needs targeted trade enforcement and tough negotiations to address subsidized overcapacity in China.”

Republican Senators Ask Trump Not to Impose Section 232 Auto Tariffs

In May 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated a Section 232 investigation into imports of automobiles and automotive parts.

With the mandated report from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross already in hand, the ball is now in the president’s court.

However, according to Bloomberg, a number of Republican senators Thursday urged Trump not to impose new tariffs on imported automobiles. The deadline for Trump’s decision falls May 18.

In a statement on his website, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley related that he impressed upon Trump the importance of passing the USMCA.

“I was glad to be able to share with President Trump how farmers and businesses in Iowa are eager for Congress to pass USMCA,” Grassley said. I want to be able to help President Trump get a victory on trade and help him keep his promise to get a better deal for American workers and farmers. I urged President Trump to work with us get past the steel and aluminum tariffs issue so USMCA can become law in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The USMCA is a historic achievement for President Trump. Lifting metal tariffs on Canada and Mexico will help the broader U.S. economy realize the agreement’s full benefits and will help a strong economy grow even stronger. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and the Trump administration to make sure the tariffs go so USMCA can replace NAFTA and become law this year. We should keep in mind that tariffs are a tax on Americans and we shouldn’t undermine the benefits of historic tax reform with tariffs.”

Auto Layoffs Double

According to MarketWatch, layoffs in the U.S. automotive sector for the first four months of 2019 hit 19,802, more than double the total of layoffs in the sector for the same period in 2018.

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In addition, auto sales continue to cool. According to the report, April sales fell 6.1%.

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