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US sanctions against Russia are threatening European industrial giants

They are going, cap in hand, to President Donald Trump this week. First Emmanuel Macron, President of France, and later in the week Germany’s Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Monday, April 23, 2018

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Rusal is the world’s largest producer of aluminium outside China.  US sanctions made prices to jump 30% in the past fortnight.  Rusal is also a major supplier of alumina, the refined white powder used by Europe’s leading aluminium producers to make the metal. Insiders said that if these producers could not secure alumina supplies, they would be forced to cut production. With a disastrous effect on industrial giants such as Airbus, BMW and Volkswagen.
Rusal is the world’s largest producer of aluminium outside China. US sanctions made prices to jump 30% in the past fortnight. Rusal is also a major supplier of alumina, the refined white powder used by Europe’s leading aluminium producers to make the metal. Insiders said that if these producers could not secure alumina supplies, they would be forced to cut production. With a disastrous effect on industrial giants such as Airbus, BMW and Volkswagen.

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by N. Peter Kramer

The top European leaders met each other a few days ago in Berlin. They didn’t agree about how to reform the European Union and its institutions but both agree that it is necessary for European industry that the US eases sanctions on Russia. 

After US sanctions on Russian metals companies caused a soar in aluminium prices, France is now pushing Germany, the UK and Italy to make a joint effort to convince Trump to change his mind. The sanctions have crippled Russian aluminium producer Rusal. 

But the wider effect is that a number of European industrial companies are now threatened with closure. And a French official told the Financial Times last week, that these companies ‘are not the kind that can be reopened overnight. So, a solution is needed. And fast!”.   

Rusal is the world’s largest producer of aluminium outside China.  US sanctions made prices to jump 30% in the past fortnight.  Rusal is also a major supplier of alumina, the refined white powder used by Europe’s leading aluminium producers to make the metal. Insiders said that if these producers could not secure alumina supplies, they would be forced to cut production. With a disastrous effect on industrial giants such as Airbus, BMW and Volkswagen. 

The separate visits to Washington by France’s President and the German Chancellor are a part of broader efforts to soothe transatlantic relations.  ‘Constructive engagement with the US is taking place’, France and the UK assisted Trump in destroying the chemical weapon factories of President Assad in Syria. 

Germany staid aloof from the attacks. A wise decision for the country that invented ‘Yperite’, the first mortal gas, used in the Great War, that killed and mutilated hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers in Flanders Fields.   

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