The Aluminum Association released a series of policy documents laying out priorities to support a strong U.S. aluminum industry. “Presidential Policy Brief: Recommendations for a Strong U.S. Aluminum Industry” includes several recommendations for the Biden administration and Congress to support a growing and vibrant aluminum sector in the United States. An addendum to the industry’s overarching Aluminum Agenda released in 2019, the brief includes key policy goals in the areas of the energy, environment, infrastructure, recycling and trade.
- Energy: As a lightweight, durable and infinitely recyclable material, aluminum is part of a suite of solutions for 21st-century energy challenges. Both Congress, the Biden administration and state governments have an opportunity to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through research and investment on production, recycling and use of aluminum.
- Environment: Aluminum producers have voluntarily worked to reduce their environmental impact and to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from North American primary production by nearly half since 1991, work previously recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency. Smart climate-change policy should work to reduce emissions at home while avoiding jobs “leakage” to overseas countries with more lax environmental enforcement.
- Infrastructure: The U.S. aluminum industry strongly supports increased public and private infrastructure investment and incentives for operational efficiencies and sustainable material choices. The aluminum industry has a role to play in policies around electric grid modernization, electric vehicle infrastructure, public transportation building construction and recycling infrastructure revitalization.
- Recycling: While the aluminum used for cars, buildings and similar industrial applications is typically recycled at rates exceeding 90%, aluminum used for consumer applications is recycled at far lower rates, which is bad for the economy and the environment. The Aluminum Association supports policies like a recycling infrastructure fund and well-designed container deposit programs to increase consumer recycling.
- Trade: The single biggest threat to U.S. aluminum remains unfairly subsidized overcapacity in China. Strong, targeted trade enforcement is vital to the U.S. aluminum industry’s ability to compete on a market-based, level playing field. The Aluminum Association supports renewed cooperation with traditional trading partners and allies to address this issue.
Last year, the Aluminum Association released new economic data showing largely steady jobs and economic impact for the aluminum industry in the United States over the last decade. In total, the U.S. aluminum industry supports nearly 660,000 total jobs (166,000 direct) and nearly $172 billion in total economic output ($70 billion direct). Modeling through the third quarter of 2020 suggested that COVID-19-driven economic disruptions likely reduced jobs and output by approximately 11%.