America's aluminum industry needs Trump's fair-trade vision

In his State of the Union address, President Trump told the American people and the world that the era of economic surrender is over. “From now on,” he said, “we expect our trading relationships to be fair and ... reciprocal.” Trump likewise told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this past Friday that we need “fair and reciprocal trade”, noting that “the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including … industrial subsidies and pervasive, state-led economic planning.” Simply put, we cannot have free trade if other countries don’t play by the rules.

As the CEO of Century Aluminum, America’s largest aluminum producer, I have seen firsthand the devastation that results when countries engage in unfair trade practices. The American primary aluminum industry has lost 62 percent of its production in the past five years alone.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce delivered a report on the national security implications of aluminum and steel imports after a significant and thorough investigation. Trump now has 90 days to decide whether to impose broad comprehensive relief, in the form of tariffs or quotas, to ensure that the U.S. aluminum and steel industries survive the accelerating surge of unfairly traded imports into the United States.

Leaders of U.S. trading partners, meanwhile, have presented themselves as globalization’s knights in shining armor. Last January, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented what some called a “robust defense of globalization” at the World Economic Forum in Davos. This year at Davos, it was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s turn. According to reports, Modi “took a swipe at the forces of protectionism that he said are seeking to reverse globalization, with rising tariff and non-tariff barriers around the world.”

In practice, however, when Xi and Modi speak of “globalization” and “free trade,” they mean something completely different. Their trade and economic policies reveal a vision of globalization in which rules are advisory as applied to them, but binding as applied to their favorite export markets.  Read more at Washington Examiner

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