The United States is considering raising the import tariff on Russian aluminum to 200%, as it seeks to increase pressure on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, according to a US official. The move comes amid reports that an announcement regarding the increased tariff could be made as early as this week.
The official stated, “It’s something we are considering,” but added that no announcement regarding the increase was expected this week. The Russian metal has been targeted by the US, after Moscow reportedly dumped the aluminum on the US market below cost, causing harm to American companies.
In October 2022, Reuters reported that the Biden administration was weighing restrictions on imports of Russian aluminum in response to Moscow’s military escalation in Ukraine. The White House declined to comment on any potential new tariffs or restrictions on Russian aluminum.
Consideration of higher tariffs on Russian aluminum comes as prices for the metal have fallen from record levels seen last year. The London Metal Exchange three-month aluminum prices reached a record of over $4,073 per tonne in March 2022, the month following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the prices have fallen dramatically to a likely range of about $2,441 to $2,500 per tonne this week.
The US is also far less dependent on Russian aluminum than it was five years ago, with imports falling to 443 million pounds in the past year from 1.65 million pounds in 2017, according to US Census Bureau data. Russian aluminum now only makes up 3% of US imports.
In 2018, the US imposed a 10% tariff on global aluminum imports on national security grounds, aimed at reviving US production. These tariffs apply to Russian output, but not to some other countries that have negotiated quota and safeguard agreements with Washington, including Canada, which now supplies roughly half of US aluminum imports. Russian output is also subject to some product-specific anti-dumping tariffs, including a 62.2% tariff on imports of Russian aluminum foil.
The Impact of Tariff Increase on US-Russian Relations
The potential increase in tariffs on Russian aluminum would further escalate tensions between the two countries and could lead to a new wave of sanctions and counter-sanctions. The US has been ramping up pressure on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and a 200% tariff on Russian aluminum would be a significant step in this direction.
The Biden administration is reportedly considering the move under the authority of the Commerce Department, which has jurisdiction over anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties. However, these duties typically require investigations that take months to complete.
The impact of the tariff increase on US-Russian relations remains to be seen, as the Biden administration has not yet made an official announcement. The US and Russia have had a strained relationship in recent years, with tensions heightened over issues such as election interference, human rights violations, and military actions in Ukraine.
The move could also have implications for the global aluminum market, as it could lead to a shift in production and trade patterns. With the US potentially increasing tariffs on Russian aluminum, other countries may look to increase imports from Russia, leading to a change in the global aluminum market.
The Future of the Global Aluminum Market
The global aluminum market has been affected by a number of factors in recent years, including tariffs and geopolitical tensions. The potential increase in tariffs on Russian aluminum by the US could have far-reaching implications for the global market, as it could lead to a shift in production and trade patterns.
In conclusion, the United States is weighing the option of increasing the import tariff on Russian-made aluminum to 200%. This move is part of the country’s efforts to exert pressure on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine. However, the decision has not been made yet, and an announcement is not expected this week. The administration has not commented on any potential new tariffs or restrictions on Russian aluminum, and it is not clear under what authority the tariffs would be imposed. Meanwhile, prices for aluminum have fallen from record levels last year, which could ease inflation. Despite the decline in prices, the United States is still considering the option of higher tariffs. The country’s dependence on Russian aluminum has also decreased in recent years, with imports falling to 443 million pounds in the past year, making up only 3% of total imports. The administration’s decision on tariffs will be watched closely by both the aluminum industry and the international community.