Germuth Disappointed but Not Surprised By Trump's Aluminum Tariff

Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth says he's disappointed -- but not surprised -- that the US is going ahead with a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from Canada, as well as Mexico and the European Union.

Rio Tinto hasn't yet made a statement on the impacts of the tariffs, but Germuth notes that 75 per cent of the company's aluminum produced in its smelters in Kitimat and Quebec head to the US. 

"We're not exactly sure what it means -- Gareth Manderson, the General Manager of BC Operations did call me yesterday morning to let me know what was happening, and that they're currently talking with their customers and assessing the situation of what local impacts might be, but we still have a hopeful outlook, Rio Tinto -- this is the lowest cost smelter that they have in their portfolio per tonne of aluminum, and of course they just finished spending five billion dollars on it and they're spending another half-a-billion dollars on the T-2 project at Kemano so we're hoping that we're going to come out on the good end of this," said Germuth.

Yesterday, the Aluminum Association of Canada predicted the tariff would cause the price of aluminum to increase on both sides of the Canada-US border, hurting small- and medium-sized businesses and resulting in consumers paying more for a wide variety of products.

The US also announced a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel from Canada, Mexico and the EU, all of whom have announced retaliatory measures against American products.