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Commerce Secretary Ross to announce plan to probe imported aluminum: Source

  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will unveil a new investigation into imported aluminum, as it relates to U.S. national security.
  • President Donald Trump signed a similar directive last week regarding foreign-made steel.
A fork lift truck carries stacks of high purity aluminium ingots at the Khakas aluminium smelter in the Siberian city of Sayanogorsk, Russia.
Sergei Karpukhin | Reuters
A fork lift truck carries stacks of high purity aluminium ingots at the Khakas aluminium smelter in the Siberian city of Sayanogorsk, Russia.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is expected to announce a new probe into imported aluminum, a senior administration official told CNBC.

The official said that the probe will be similar to the one the White House launched last week regarding steel.

The probe will be initiated under Section 232, a unique defense industry report that is typically initiated at the request of a particular industry. It's a formal U.S. government investigation of the effects of imports as they pertain to U.S. national security.

As other countries ramp up their metal production, some provide subsidies to producers, lowering the price of metals exported to the United States. American producers have long complained that these practices undercut their business, making it more difficult for them to compete.

When President Donald Trump signed a similar memorandum asking for a similar probe regarding imported steel, an official told Reuters that the directive would not target a specific country, but is "product oriented."

But U.S. metal producers have repeatedly pointed fingers at China.

In January, the Obama administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, alleging that Chinese aluminum producers receive artificially cheap loans, contributing to the country's excess capacity.

Shares of producer Century Aluminum took a leg higher following the news. The stock was last seen trading near its highs of the day, up more than 8 percent.

— Reporting by CNBC's Lori Ann LaRocco. Written by Christine Wang.