Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) is "well prepared” to manage the threat of US President Donald Trump’s proposed tariff hike on steel and aluminium imports.
“Alongside Asia, Europe, and the UAE, the United States is an important market for us,” an EGA spokesperson told Construction Week. “However we do not wish to comment at this stage, beyond saying that we are well-prepared for whatever market conditions may arise.”
EGA’s statement comes as world leaders warn that Trump’s protectionist move to increase tariffs on steel and aluminium by 25% and 10% respectively could spark a trade war.
This may be costly for the UAE, which, alongside Russia and China, rank among the top aluminium-exporting nations.
EGA - which claims to be one of the world’s largest aluminium traders, and one of the UAE’s biggest firms outside of oil and gas - is in a rich vein of financial form. Its 2017 net income increased by 59% to $900m (AED 3.3 billion) year-on-year.
Trump is yet to slap US tariffs on aluminium and steel imports, but world leaders have warned it could ignite a trade war with countries including Canada, China, and the EU. Trump is unperturbed by this, and earlier said that "trade wars are good, and easy to win”.
No countries would be exempt from the tariff increase either. But America’s top suppliers of steel and aluminium – Canada and the EU – would be among the hardest hit.
The EU has warned it could launch tit-for-tat tariff hikes on imports of quintessentially American imports such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon, and Levi jeans.
In a customary tweet from the president, Trump said the US was on the “losing side” of many trade deals and that America’s “friends and enemies have taken advantage of us”.
We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals. Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2018
While the policy has drawn condemnation from world powers, US-based advocacy group the Aluminium Association praised the president.
In a statement, the trade body said: "We appreciate the President’s commitment to strengthening the US aluminium industry. We look forward to working with the President on implementation and to creating a more level playing field."