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Tariffs on Canadian aluminum 'step in wrong direction': US Chamber of Commerce

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Pittsburgh — The Trump administration's announcement Aug. 6 that tariffs on aluminum imports from Canada were returning represents "a step in the wrong direction," according to US Chamber of Commerce Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant.

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"These tariffs will raise costs for American manufacturers, are opposed by most US aluminum producers, and will draw retaliation against US exports, just as they did before," Brilliant said in a statement Aug. 7. "We urge the administration to reconsider this move."

Brilliant said American businesses are increasingly more dependent on global trade to foster growth and job creation.

"We must take care to uphold commitments we've made to our allies to keep markets open; otherwise, foreign retaliation will hit US exports and jobs," Brilliant said.

Conversely, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said the administration's decision to put the tariff back in place was driven by the need to address rising imports of aluminum from Canada.

"The surge has intensified in recent months, despite a contraction in US demand," the USTR's office said in a statement. "To ensure the continued integrity and effectiveness of the national security measures [President Trump] adopted under Section 232, the US has reimposed a tariff on the surging imports."

Augustine Lo, an attorney at international law firm Dorsey & Whitney who focuses on export control matters, said the tariff may have a pronounced influence on the domestic market since it targets the largest share of Canadian aluminum exports to the US.

"Assuming this 10% tariff proceeds, it could significantly impact the aluminum market, from competing US producers of primary aluminum, to producers of secondary aluminum from recycled goods that could compete with imported primary aluminum, and to downstream users of aluminum across all industries," Lo said in a statement sent to S&P Global Platts.

Lo said Canada would likely impose retaliatory tariffs against the US, though the dispute should not lead to the unraveling of the recently implemented US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.