USMCA could boost demand for US Al alloys



John Betz| Argus News

Some US cast aluminum alloy producers to expect an uptick in demand for ingot after President Donald Trump’s administration clarified in June that unwrought aluminum used in automotive manufacturing will need to be proven North American in origin to count toward the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) local content requirements.

In a document released on 3 June, the US Trade Representative included harmonized tariff system code 76.01, unwrought aluminum, as covered under USMCA content requirements. Unwrought aluminum alloys fall under this heading, bearing the code 76.012. The document also included 76.02, the code for aluminum scrap.

This means that Mexico-based manufacturers may need to shift more of their alloy imports to North American sources if they want to remain in compliance with the treaty, which requires that 70pc of all vehicle components be made from North American parts and materials.

The USMCA treaty comes into effect starting in July but there will be a 90-day grace period before enforcement kicks in.

Several US projects are in the works that may benefit from Mexico’s likely pivot to more North American alloy, including Audubon’s planned secondary smelter in Corsicana, Texas, targeting an early 2021 opening, and Alliance Metals’ Alabama smelter aiming to open in August.

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