Washington, D.C. (December 7, 2023) – Today, Joe Quinn, Vice President and Director of SAFE’s Center for Strategic Industrial Materials, testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission on the importance of ensuring the vitality of domestic primary aluminum production.
During his opening statement, Quinn noted the importance of aluminum as we transition to an electric world. “We believe the world is transitioning from a fossil-based to a minerals-based economy that will require an ever-growing supply of critical minerals and materials, specifically aluminum. In the coming decade, where these materials come from – and how they are produced – will have profound consequences on America’s national security and economic competitiveness.”
Addressing previous attempts to address aluminum challenges, he remarked, “Over the last decade, aluminum has been disputed, tariffed, monitored, traced, capped, and greened. President Obama opted for multilateral and bilateral cooperation. President Trump invoked trade wars and enforcement to prompt negotiations. President Biden has been building incentives for a cleaner aluminum market with allies. One thread runs through these unique approaches: they all narrow in on aluminum’s price problem, while overlooking domestic smelter’s cost problem.”
Regarding recommendations for the Global Agreement for Sustainable Steel and Aluminum (GASSA), he added, “The U.S. government should not miss the opportunity to turn trade into a win-win for climate and jobs. The Agreement’s framework must address domestic smelters’ access to affordable, reliable, and stable energy. This is the consistent challenge to U.S. primary aluminum production, and no other policy to-date addresses this problem head on.”
Quinn thanked the Commissioners for the opportunity to testify on this important issue, and concluded with, “Decarbonization and energy security both affect the future of domestic primary aluminum. The rate at which the aluminum industry can reduce emissions at-scale is a function of the buildout and availability of lower-carbon energy sources. Lowering and stabilizing energy costs will bolster the primary industry and thus enable decarbonization. But it must be done quickly enough to keep pace with the clean energy transition.”
Mr. Quinn’s full opening statement can be viewed [HERE]. Also linked are the Center’s ENERGY, TRADE and LEGISLATIVE reports examining the various issues impacting domestic primary aluminum production.