The imposition of barriers to trade between the UK and the EU could be disastrous for the European aluminium industry, a Parliamentary body has warned.
The Aluminium Industry All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) considered the potential impact of tariffs on the sector at a meeting today.
The meeting was addressed by both Business and Industry Minister Richard Harrington MP and Eoin Dinsmore, principal consultant at CRU. It was attended by companies across the UK aluminium sector, and by BEIS officials.
Companies highlighted the high volume of cross-border transit within Europe of components and work-in-progress, as well as finished product, especially in the automotive and aerospace industries. This integrated supply chain activity is usually overlooked when international trade is discussed. The imposition of tariffs, or, equally important, non-financial barriers such as customs clearance, would severely impact UK manufacturing.
The meeting also discussed the threat of the US imposing tariffs, quotas or both on imports of aluminium into the country. Aimed at China, such measures would also hit US allies such as the UK and Canada, and could have the unintended consequence of boosting exports of finished goods to the US, while exports of raw materials decline.
The Aluminium Federation has recently supplied details of aluminium supply chains and trading patterns to BEIS, to inform its ongoing discussions with international trading partners.