The aluminium sector generates £10 billion annually for the UK economy and employs more than 20,000 people nationwide. It plays a vital role in the supply chains of key high-value sectors – transport (aerospace, automotive and rail) and construction – as well as mass markets for packaging. It’s therefore a sector of profound national significance, in terms of exports and infrastructure.

As a lightweight and highly recyclable material, aluminium is a key contributor to the low-carbon economy. Its role will continue to expand, from replacing single-use plastics to supporting more sustainable transport. The aluminium industrial sector leads the circular economy, adding value to the up- and down-stream UK supply chain. The emphasis on reuse and recycling is key to HMG’s green growth strategy and carbon neutral vision.

The Aluminium Federation recognises the Government’s ambitions for trade deals with the EU, US and other countries. Here we summarise the priorities for the aluminium industry:

  • It’s essential that future trade agreements create an environment that fosters aluminium industry growth over the short, medium and long term. Anything else would be devastating to the many areas of UK manufacturing that rely on access to quality, price-competitive aluminium in their supply chain
  • We need a preferential trade agreement with the EU ensuring 0% tariffs – Europe is a high-value market for UK aluminium, one that cannot and should not be replaced
  • Rules of Origin must be framed to enable tariff-free access for aluminium products at all stages of manufacture. Negotiations should focus on the conversion process qualification rather than value content percentage, adding value to key sectors (auto, transport, aero, construction, recycling) and sustainability objectives
  • It’s critical that UK aluminium’s collaboration with European and international counterparts continue. There’s a long history of cooperation and knowledge sharing, which delivers wide economic benefits
  • Trade deals with other countries should ensure fair access for UK producers, and the UK should be prepared to use remedies and safeguards to ensure security of supply and protect against dumping
  • To be cost-competitive, UK producers need greater industrial investment to drive quality and productivity improvements – these gains are essential to Government ambitions for the low-carbon economy
  • We recommend amending UK versions of regulations such as IED and REACH to be less onerous. This will be vital in realising the Government’s ambitions for an all-electric economy. It will also help with planning and supporting the manufacturing sector where house building encroaches on existing production plants, perhaps through the introduction of industrial zones
  • We recommend provision for short-term movement of people without visas. We welcome HMG’s ongoing engagement with stakeholders on new immigration frameworks

Read more: ALFED UK/EU Trade Negoitations Position Paper – February 2020

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