The EU industry group European Aluminium has cautioned against imposing sanctions on Russian aluminum giant Rusal in a letter to its members, according to a report from Reuters. The trade body revealed that its members have been discussing the possibility of advocating for EU sanctions on Russian aluminum while excluding Rusal from these restrictions. European Aluminium emphasized Rusal’s strategic importance in the global aluminum market and recommended that EU sanctions should not target the company. However, Brussels has only partially restricted imports of aluminum products from Russia so far, prohibiting the delivery of aluminum plates, sheets, and strips over 0.2mm in thickness.
European Aluminium Director General Paul Voss clarified that discussions about imposing sanctions on Russian aluminum are currently an internal exercise and there are no indications of the European Commission planning new sanctions at this stage. Nevertheless, the Russian aluminum industry has increasingly faced restrictions from Western countries. In February, the US imposed 200% duties on imports of Russian-made aluminum products, while in March, Canada banned imports of Russian aluminum and steel. Similarly, in May, the UK announced plans to prohibit imports of Russian aluminum. In its letter, European Aluminium expressed support for these efforts, including the imposition of new tariffs on aluminum imports from Russia.
Rusal is the largest aluminum producer globally outside of China and the primary producer in Russia. It accounted for approximately 5.6% of global aluminum output in 2022. Notably, Rusal owns the largest refinery of raw alumina in the EU, the Aughinish refinery in Ireland, as well as the Kubal smelter in Sweden.
Given Rusal’s significant role in the aluminum market, European Aluminium advises against targeting the company with sanctions. The organization recognizes the strategic importance of Rusal and believes that EU sanctions should consider the broader implications for the global aluminum industry.
It is important to note that European Aluminium’s position on sanctions on Rusal is currently an internal discussion among its members and not reflective of any specific decisions or actions taken by the European Commission. As such, no new sanctions are currently being planned.
The caution surrounding sanctions on Rusal comes in the context of increasing restrictions on Russian aluminum by Western countries. These restrictions are part of broader efforts to deter and punish Russia for various geopolitical actions. However, European Aluminium distinguishes between targeting Rusal and imposing other measures, such as tariffs, to deter unfair trade practices.
The global aluminum industry remains a significant sector, contributing to economic growth and job creation. As such, any potential sanctions or restrictions on industry players like Rusal require careful consideration to ensure the overall stability and competitiveness of the industry. European Aluminium’s stance on Rusal’s strategic importance reflects the recognition of these broader impacts.
In conclusion, European Aluminium has urged caution in imposing sanctions specifically on Russian aluminum giant Rusal due to its strategic importance. While discussions on this matter are ongoing within the industry group, no new sanctions are currently being planned by the European Commission. The industry recognizes the significant role of Rusal in the global aluminum market and supports efforts to address unfair trade practices through measures such as tariffs on aluminum imports from Russia. The ultimate goal is to balance the need for geopolitical actions with the stability and competitiveness of the aluminum industry.