Aluminum group steps up call on EU to bar imports of the Russian metal

Credit: Rusal

Industry group European Aluminium has stepped up its long-running call for the European Union to expand its sanctions regime on Moscow, saying the EU could live comfortably without major Russian aluminum products.

Russia’s Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, said the main victims of such measure would be the European consumers.

“It’s getting harder and harder to justify the continued exclusion of aluminum ingots from the scope of EU sanctions on Russia,” Paul Voss, director general at European Aluminium, said in a statement on Friday.

“We could live comfortably without it, and we should.”

The EU has been discussing a planned 14th package of Russian sanctions this month, but aluminum has not been mentioned in the European Commission’s proposals so far.

The EU already has bans in place on Russian-made aluminum wire, foil, tubes and pipes, but imports of Russian aluminum ingots, slabs and billets – 85% of the EU’s aluminum imports from Russia – remain excluded from the measures. The U.S and Britain previously banned Russian aluminum imports.

European Aluminium has been lobbying the EU for a ban on Russian-made aluminum over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, while stressing that sanctions should avoid Rusal, which has operations in Ireland, Sweden and some other countries.

EU’s 2023 imports of Russian-made primary aluminum fell by 45% to 1.25 billion euros ($1.35 billion), according to the group. Russia accounts for 8% of the EU’s ingot imports, it added.

The group is calling for an EU import ban of Russian aluminum ingots, slabs, and billets and proposes the measures include indirect imports of Russian ingots via semi-finished products from third countries.

Rusal said the proposed measures would hit EU’s small- and mid-sized downstream companies.

“Rusal has been operating in Europe for more than 20 years,” it said in an emailed comment. “We hope for a balanced and reasonable approach from the EU authorities.”

($1 = 0.9226 euro)

(By Polina Devitt; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)


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