Backer of tariffs on Canadian aluminum confronts critics in Canada, U.S.

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One of the few champions of the Trump administration's decision to slap fresh tariffs on Canadian aluminum is defending the move as vital to the industry's survival south of the border.
     
Robert DeFrancesco, a trade lawyer and lobbyist in Washington, D.C., represents the two American metals producers that convinced the U.S. trade ambassador to impose new levies on Canadian exports last month.
     
In an online forum today hosted by the Washington International Trade Association, DeFrancesco squared off against critics of the decision, including leading industry groups in both Canada and the U.S.
     
DeFrancesco insists there was a ``surge'' of Canadian aluminum exports into the U.S. earlier this year, even when confronted with evidence to the contrary.
     
And he also says that like producers in China, the Canadian industry is unfairly subsidized, a charge roundly rejected by Jean Simard, president of the Aluminum Association of Canada.
     
Tom Dobbins, president of the U.S. Aluminum Association, says targeting Canada distracts from the real source of angst: a subsidized industry in China that refuses to play by the rules.