Japan's aluminum industry calls for U.S. to scrap import tariffs

FILE PHOTO - A man looks at aluminium rims displayed at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2007 in Chiba, east of Tokyo January 12, 2007. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s aluminum industry on Thursday called for the United States to scrap import tariffs on aluminum, claiming that they are against international rules and pose a serious problem for the industry and global trade and economic growth.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump temporarily excluded six countries, including Canada and Mexico, and the countries of the European Union from higher U.S. import duties on steel and aluminum that went into effect on Friday. The exclusion included most U.S. allies, but not Japan.

“We will ask the Japanese government to continue seeking a country exemption from the new U.S. tariffs,” Mitsuru Okada, chairman of the Japan Aluminium Association told a news conference, adding that Japanese makers will also seek product exemptions.

Japan’s production of rolled and extruded aluminum is estimated to be 2.06 million tonnes in the year to March 31, according to association data. Exports to the U.S. are estimated to be 31,000 tonnes out of total exports of 203,853 tonnes.

“We are also worried that aluminum products that are shut out by the United States may flood the Asian market,” Okada said.

The association also issued its outlook for the metal in Japan in the business year starting April, predicting demand for rolled and extruded aluminum to fall 0.1 percent from the current year to 2.05 million tonnes.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Aaron Sheldrick