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U.S. aluminum tariffs have led to investment, jobs -think tank study By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A metal worker clears a slag off the top of molten aluminum in a siphoning crucible at Century Aluminum Company in Hawesville, Kentucky, U.S. May 14, 2019. Picture taken May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. tariffs on aluminum imports imposed by former president Donald Trump and continued by President Joe Biden have led to increased output, employment and capital investment by domestic producers, a new study from a left-leaning think tank showed on Tuesday.

The Economic Policy Institute said the 10% aluminum tariffs, imposed in March 2018 under the “Section 232” national security section of a Cold War-era trade law, have led to $6 billion in 57 downstream aluminum product manufacturing projects that will employ over 4,500 additional workers.

They will add more than 1.1 million metric tons in annual rolling and extrusion capacity, said the report, which was released as U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai begins talks with the European Union to resolve disputes over the U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminum.

U.S. steel industry groups, citing a similar EPI study backing https://www.epi.org/publication/why-global-steel-surpluses-warrant-u-s-section-232-import-measures the Section 232 steel tariffs, urged Biden last week to keep those tariffs in place.

The report argues that there is no evidence of a “meaningful adverse effect” from the tariffs on industries or consumers. It said that the causal relationship between primary aluminum prices and those of end-use goods made from aluminum, including canned beer, construction products, furniture and motor vehicle bodies, shows the effects to be “statistically zero to economically trivial.”

It also said that retaliatory 25% EU tariffs on American whiskey have not hurt the industry, citing an annualized volume growth rate of 6.8% from 2017 to 2020, exceeding its growth rate the previous three years.

“U.S. whiskey producers found more profitable uses in domestic markets for the whiskey they were already producing,” the study said.

As the report was being prepared, EPI’s past president, trade economist Thea Lee, earlier this month started as a Biden administration appointee to the Labor Department, where she will head the agency’s International Affairs Bureau, an office that helps enforce labor rights provisions in U.S. trade agreements..

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