US to Impose 200% Tariff on Aluminum Imports from Russia
Aluminum is widely used in solar modules and mounting structures
The United States has announced that starting March 10, 2023, it will impose a 200% tax on aluminum imported from Russia and its derivatives.
In an announcement, President Joe Biden said the U.S. will also impose a 200% duty on aluminum imports that contain any amount of primary aluminum that has been smelted or cast in Russia beginning April 10, 2023.
Among other uses, aluminum is a crucial component in solar projects and is widely used to produce solar modules and mounting structures.
Russia is one of the major aluminum exporters to the United States. Although the volume of aluminum imports from Russia has decreased, Russia remains the fifth largest source of imported aluminum in the United States. Aluminum imports from Russia have increased in both 2021 and 2022.
The overcapacity of aluminum production in certain countries has created distortions that threaten market-oriented aluminum industries. Russia’s aluminum industry is particularly export-oriented, with the country being the largest exporter of unwrought aluminum in 2021. Moreover, only 22% of Russian aluminum production is used for domestic consumption.
Between March and July 2022, U.S. imports of Russian aluminum increased by 53%. This increase in imports suggests that there may be a risk of the U.S. market becoming overly reliant on Russian aluminum, which could create potential vulnerabilities for the U.S. aluminum industry.
The proclamation stated that countries that impose a tariff of 200% or more on their imports of aluminum articles produced in Russia may be exempt from the tariff that the U.S. imposes.
According to the White House statement, two of the five remaining aluminum smelters in the United States are in danger of closing due to continued high aluminum imports and high energy prices.
Last August, Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, which seeks to bolster domestic renewable energy supply chains and decrease reliance on imports. The Act proposes a spending of $369 billion in energy security and climate change programs over ten years.
The U.S. had last June announced a 24-month duty exemption on solar modules and cells imported from Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to ensure that the domestic solar industry has access to a sufficient supply of the components.