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Europe's Largest Aluminum Producer Is Dodging U.S. Tariffs

Sveinung Sleire
Bound aluminum ingots sit stacked in a warehouse ahead of shipping at the Alumetal Group Hungary Kft. aluminium processing plant in Komarom, Hungary on Monday, March 19, 2018. The European Union believes it's on track to be exempted from imminent U.S. tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium, dialling down the risk of a trans-Atlantic trade war. Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

Norway, Europe’s largest producer of aluminum, is counting its blessings that only a minuscule amount of the metal it ships abroad is sold to the U.S.

About 97 percent of Norway’s 31.9 billion kroner ($4 billion) in aluminum exports last year to European markets, while only 0.2 percent was sent to the U.S., Statistics Norway said in a new report on Tuesday.

Norway also benefited as the European Union has decided to keep the Nordic country out of any retaliatory measures. Norway is a member of the internal market through the European Economic Area agreement.

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But the statistics agency also raised a warning finger. Exports would take a hit should the U.S. introduce increased tariffs on European cars. Norway is home to aluminum producer Norsk Hydro ASA.

“Increased tariffs could lead to a spiral of retribution, with tariffs on more goods from several countries,” the agency said. “This would have widespread and greater consequences also for Norway’s export industry.”

Excluding oil and gas, aluminum accounted for almost 8 percent of Norway’s exports in 2017.

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