This Morning in Metals: Aluminum Extruders Council demands end to aluminum import tariffs

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This morning in metals news, the Aluminum Extruders Council has released a statement calling for the U.S. to rescind its aluminum import tariffs, U.S. raw steel production came in at a capacity utilization rate of 53.3% for the week ending June 6 and Thyssenkrupp plans to partners with RWE on technology aimed at curbing emissions from steel production.

AEC calls for end to aluminum tariffs

The Aluminum Extruders Council released a statement this week calling for an end to the U.S.’s aluminum import tariffs.

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“When the Trump Administration announced the 232 investigation into the national security implications of imported aluminum products three years ago, the domestic U.S. aluminum industry was encouraged,” the AEC said. “It was assumed that finally, action would be taken on the largest threat to the domestic aluminum industry: China. However, that is not what happened.”

The industry group bemoaned the shuttering of Alcoa’s Intalco smelter in Ferndale, Washington.

“With the closure of Alcoa’s Intalco Works in Ferndale, Washington, U.S. extruders lost their only remaining primary billet supplier west of the Mississippi,” AEC continued. “Having no other option, those extruders have been forced to place orders for imported billet. How could another American smelter close while the 232 has been in place for nearly three years? If the 232 was to grow U.S. production of primary aluminum, where are the announcements of expansions and new operations? The truth is, no one is going to build primary aluminum production in the U.S. with or without the 232.”

Steel capacity rate dips to 53.3%

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), U.S. steel capacity utilization rate for the week ending June 6 checked in at 53.3%, down from 53.8% from the previous week and from 80.2% during the same week in 2019.

Steel production for the week ending June 6 totaled 1.20 million tons, down 36.0% year over year and down 0.9% from the previous week.

RWE, Thyssenkrupp to team up

Germany’s Thyssenkrupp announced it plans to partner with German electric utilities firm RWE in an effort to cut carbon emissions related to steel production.

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“Green hydrogen from an RWE Generation electrolyzer could help thyssenkrupp Steel Europe sustainably reduce CO2 emissions from steel production in the future,” Thyssenkrupp said in a release. “The energy company and the steel producer have agreed to work together towards a longer-term hydrogen partnership. The first hydrogen is set to flow to the Duisburg steel mill by the middle of the decade.”

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