Although the low-quality steel from China has negatively affected the US in previous years, aluminum is the new focus, and unlike steel, the US can’t produce enough on its own to meet demands. But how does that connect to national security?
Low-quality aluminum from China was fed into markets and the amount of smelters in the US dropped to a little more than one-fifth of what it was before, all upon China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization. In addition to job loss on a grand scale, high-quality aluminum used in the US to construct small planes and artillery has disappeared, threatening the country’s protection.
Due to the unlikely scenario in which the US calls upon the few other countries to import aluminum, President Trump has ordered an official investigation into the products the country has received as of late. The government hopes to get its biggest aluminum plant running at full capacity once again so as not to depend solely on China for the precious material. The plant’s production could be discontinued otherwise.
The possibility of added taxes and quotas would help, but the overproduction of aluminum in China is what truly needs fixing. The country’s government funding, which was intended to keep exportation going, is what drives the industry heads to refine more than they can handle. To truly grasp the severity of the situation, the data shows that China produces over 50% of the world’s aluminum, something that no single country has ever done before.
Fortunately, the US is taking the issue very seriously. Not only has the Trump administration set out to identify possible solutions, but the Obama administration also wrote to the World Trade Organization to request the withdrawal of China’s government funding. This potential remedy is approved by Canada, Japan, Russia, and the European Union as well, all of which play a part in the aluminum industry.
Clearly, this issue is more than a disagreement between two countries. It’s beginning to have a global effect, and no one is happy about it. The World Trade Organization will need to put something into place soon to avoid any other conflicts within the aluminum industry.