Trade is a fundamental source of growth and innovation for the global economy. It is also a force to promote our principles and policies in Europe. With a view to supporting the development of a sustainable and competitive aluminium industry in our continent, we are fully committed to endorse free and fair trade regimes respectful of WTO rules and to advocate for a level playing field among operators in the sector worldwide.
Our priorities: ranging from monitoring to strategic advocacy
International trade flows have accelerated, and the EU presented ambitious plans to sign agreements with major manufacturer’s nations. The European Commission’s strategy known as “Trade for All” has set clear political objectives for developing fair and deeper trade relations, built on the three key principles of effectiveness, transparency and values. This dynamic agenda is triggering important debates for the entire industrial base in Europe.
In this context, European Aluminium works to:
- Monitor trends in international EU trade policy and trade-related EU legislation
- Address any sources of competitive trade distortions, whether they arise within or outside the European internal market
- Make strategic recommendations on general trade policies with impacts on our industry
- Secure, in the framework of multilateral trade negotiations as well as in the context of the EU’s bilateral free-trade initiatives, improved market access for aluminium industry exports worldwide and level playing-field access to raw materials, while defending the desired EU market protection whenever this is justified
- Assert the industry’s views and interests in respect of any problems arising in relation to the implementation of world or EU customs regulatory provisions (customs classification, rules of origin, tariff suspensions, GSP)
- Promote international cooperation, coordination and data-sharing between major trading partners on global platforms including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the G20
Watch the below video to learn more about our key trade policy asks.
Anti-dumping and anti-subsidy
Europe’s aluminium industry is innovative, a leading employer and a major contributor to Europe’s COP21 ambitions. However, it faces threats from unfair competition. State-financed dumping undermines Europe’s trade defence and seriously harms its ability to protect jobs, innovative business, and entire industrial value chains.
The prominent OECD report “Measuring distortions in international markets: The aluminium value chain,” highlights how non-market forces were responsible for some of the recent increases in aluminium smelting capacities, with impacts throughout the value chain. The report estimates the state support received by 17 international companies using publicly available information. While most government support was provided in the primary aluminium segment, the OECD demonstrated that the support also provided meaningful benefits and advantages to production further down the value chain. In total, these companies have received up to USD 70 billion in different forms of support over the 2013-2017 period. Notably, 85% percent of the documented subsidies went to just five Chinese firms.
European Aluminium is fully in favour of free trade, however, it must be fair. Effective trade defence instruments – including solid and predictable anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation – are essential to ensure free and fair trade.
To highlight the hazard that unfair dumping from countries like China poses to the European economy, European Aluminium has joined AEGIS Europe. AEGIS is an alliance of manufacturers from more than 30 sectors, including steel, ceramics, solar panels, car parts, train builders, textiles, bicycles, and many others.
Trade: more than business
Trade is not just about business. European Union trade policy has had a significant impact on other policies such as climate change, social rights, safety, and standards, among others. This policy linkage is critical for our industry to lead on sustainability and promote environmental, health and safety (EHS) standards globally. For this reason, our members welcome the need of a strong European trade policy that:
- Supports the fight to protect our environment and reverse global warming;
- Ensures the highest standards of health, safety for the products we trade and;
- Improves working conditions for workers at the international level.