Is there a 200% tariff on Russian aluminum coming into the United States? Yes, but that's just the starting point of what you need to know.

Is there a tariff on aluminum?

Starting on March 10, the U.S. government began imposing a 200% tariff on aluminum imports from Russia. That same tariff will now apply to imports from other countries containing Russian primary aluminum. An additional 70% has also been imposed on most unwrought and semi-finished aluminum products imported from Russia, which can bring the total tariff up to 270%.

So, what does that mean for your aluminum purchases? We asked Jeff Penz, Ryerson’s director, international procurement & recyclables, three key questions.

Aluminum imports: what needs to be declared?

Penz: Whenever you bring material into the United States, it must be declared through the ACE (Automated Commercial Environment) portal. Each country has its own version of this portal. But in the case of Russian aluminum, the government has taken it one-step further by saying the two largest countries of smelt for that product must also be declared. This means even trace elements could make the entire shipment subject to the duty.

Let’s take the scenario of a company from a country that is allowed to bring material into the U.S. Before April 10, that company could buy aluminum ingot from Russia, melt it in their country and by doing so it would then become a product of that country. Now, if that ingot says ‘Russian smelt’ – even just a trace element—a 200% duty will be applied when it enters the US.

Do aluminum tariffs also apply to finished product?

Penz: Finished goods are handled in a similar manner, in that everything must be cleared under the appropriate harmonized tariff code. The HTS code will allow you to determine if there are any extra duties and or tariffs. If you know your code or are trying to figure out which one applies you can find it on the U.S. ITC website. 

It is important to note that various factors, including the width, thickness, and chemical composition of the product, will impact which codes apply.

Have U.S. aluminum prices reacted to the news of tariffs on Russian aluminum?

Penz: Much of the impact on prices took effect back when the war in Ukraine broke out in 2022. At that time, the U.S. declared that it did not want to import aluminum from Russia which was reported to account for 17% of the world’s production. That number now is lower, due in some part to the U.S. importing less Russian aluminum.

Check out the latest prices and inventory of aluminum products here

What are tariffs and how do they impact aluminum? Check out this primer: