Union Drops Effort to Restrict U.S. Imports of Raw Aluminum
HONG KONG — The United Steelworkers union has suspended indefinitely an unusual effort to push the United States government to restrict all aluminum imports after the campaign ran into opposition from aluminum companies, the Canadian government and even Canadian members of the union.
The union on Friday withdrew its petition to an American trade panel, which was filed the preceding Monday, after an aluminum industry group agreed to work with the union to address its main concern: Chinese aluminum production overcapacity and exports. “The Aluminum Association shares many of the concerns expressed by the United Steelworkers regarding Chinese aluminum overproduction,” the group said in a statement. “Overcapacity must be addressed to maintain a vibrant and healthy North American aluminum industry.”
上周五，联合会撤回了上周一向美国一个国际贸易委员会提交的请愿书，在此之前，一个铝业行会同意与联合会合作，解决他们关切的主要问题：中国的铝产能过剩以及铝材出口。“对于中国的铝产能过剩，铝业协会(The Aluminum Association)与美国钢铁工人联合会有很多共同的关切，”该组织在声明中说。“必须应对产能过剩的问题，以维护北美铝业的活力和健康。”
The statement provided no specifics, saying only that, “The industry supports ongoing efforts by the U.S. and Chinese governments to address this critical issue.”
China’s aluminum exports have surged as the country’s economy slows. Those exports have displaced Canadian exports in some international markets, triggering an increase in Canadian shipments to the United States, where they now account for two-thirds of all American imports of raw aluminum.
At the same time, American companies including Alcoa have also been expanding in countries including Canada, Iceland and Saudi Arabia while closing less efficient operations in the United States.
The union tried to address the issue by invoking Section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act — an obscure trade law not employed since 2001, when President George W. Bush used it to restrict steel imports. That nearly set off a trade war with the European Union. In a Section 201 case, American industries or unions facing serious injury from imports may seek broad tariffs on imports from around the world rather than from a particular country.
美国钢铁工人联合会试图援引1974年《贸易法》(Trade Act)第201条来处理这个问题——这项不太起眼的贸易法上一次动用是在2001年，当时的总统乔治·W·布什(George W. Bush)用它来限制钢铁进口，结果几乎掀起了与欧盟的贸易战。第201条规定，美国产业或者工会如果面临着进口带来的严重冲击，可以寻求对全球进口设置全面的关税，而不是针对具体某国。
The union’s petition triggered a strong reaction from government officials and workers in Canada, especially in the province of Quebec. That was awkward for the United Steelworkers, which represents workers across North America.
Although it withdrew the petition, the union said on Friday: “We believe the Section 201 case would have resulted in immediate price increases that would have helped to maintain domestic production and employment as well as ensuring that producers in the United States and Canada would be able to obtain a fairer price for their products.”
Section 201 cases are handled initially by the United States International Trade Commission, a bipartisan panel of trade experts in Washington. But the final decision is made by the president, who decides whether to follow recommendations from the commission. Cases that involve substantial imports from Canada or Mexico are sometimes slightly harder for American industries and unions to win because they are covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement.
涉及第201条的案件的初步处理由美国国际贸易委员会(United States International Trade Commission)开展；它是一个代表两党的小组，由华盛顿的贸易专家组成。但最终决定权在总统，他会对委员会的建议做出权衡。如果案件涉及从加拿大或墨西哥的大量进口，美国的行业和工会要获胜就会稍微艰难一些，因为那属于北美自由贸易协定(North American Free Trade Agreement)涵盖的范围。