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Standing in for Fouad Egbaria, here is your morning in metals, folks.

Aluminum Highlights

Feeling behind on aluminum industry activity and economic drivers? Look no further than the Aluminum Association’s latest comprehensive rundown, including import trends and key raw material inputs such as energy.

According to their highlights, the majority of aluminum imports into the U.S. are in ingot form. “After three consecutive months of declining volumes, ingot imports increased 1.8 percent month-over-month in July,” the report states, citing U.S. Census Bureau figures. “Nevertheless, imports of ingot increased 19.0 percent year-over-year in July, and are up 22.7 percent year-to-date over the same period in 2016. While the growth has occurred across the spectrum of ingot importing countries, the largest year-to-date increases have originated from South Africa, India, and Australia.”

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EPA Clean Power Plan: Trump Takes Over Obama’s ‘Fuzzy Math’

President Trump made quick moves to ax the Clean Power Plan, whose benefits the previous administration said would dwarf its costs (of which, MetalMiner speculated, there would be many).

Now, Trump and his EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, are trying to massage the numbers behind those costs and benefits — and it may be a tough proposition to get things right.

Electric Cars All the Rage?

Arnoud Balhuizen, chief commercial officer at BHP, was quoted by Reuters as saying on Tuesday that 2017 will be a “tipping point” for electric cars, adding that “the impact for raw materials producers would be felt first in the metals markets and only later in oil,” according to the news service.

“In September 2016 we published a blog and we set the question – could 2017 be the year of the electric vehicle revolution?” Balhuizen said in an interview, Reuters reported.

Free Download: The September 2017 MMI Report

MetalMiner’s correspondent in India, Sohrab Darabshaw, will have an upcoming piece later this week about how that very revolution is shaping up in the world’s second-most populous country – stay tuned!

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An Ipsos poll released late last week offers a window into the varying perspectives of the populations of the U.S., Canada and Mexico with respect to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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Negotiators from the three countries kicked off a third round of renegotiation talks on Saturday in Ottawa. Among other things, the ballooning deficit between the U.S. and Mexico has been a major talking point for the U.S. (The U.S. had a $64.4 billion deficit with Mexico in 2016, and a $41.2 billion deficit through the first seven months of this year, according to Census Bureau data.)

But how do the respective publics feel about the 23-year-old trilateral trade agreement?

According to the Ipsos poll, support for the free trade agreement is high across the board, albeit higher in Mexico and Canada than in the U.S.

However, the poll data show citizens of the United States have a different opinion on how much the free trade deal has actually helped their country.

According to the poll, 39% of Americans think the free trade deal has helped the U.S., compared with 57% of Canadians and 59% of Mexicans.

When it comes to identifying which NAFTA members are believed to have benefited the most, 35% of Americans went with Mexico. Meanwhile, a majority of Mexicans (64%) and just over a third of Canadians (34%) said the U.S. has benefited the most from the deal.

When asked if the deal benefited the three countries equally, 34% of Canadians and 32% of Americans said that was the case, while just 20% of Mexicans agreed that was the case.

When it came to whether or not renegotiation was considered to be a good thing, 48% and 46% of Americans and Mexicans, respectively, said that was the case. Canadians were less sure, however, with just 33% saying renegotiating the trade deal was a good thing.

Principle is one thing — what about execution?

The three countries each had varying levels of confidence in their negotiators.

Canadians had the most faith in their negotiating team (59%), compared with 50% of Americans and just 40% of Mexicans.

Setting aside President Trump’s public threats to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA should a negotiated deal favorable to the U.S. prove unreachable, 50% of Americans expressed they would want NAFTA to continue in its current form if talks fail. Meanwhile, 59% of Canadians and 60% of Mexicans indicated they would want the deal to continue in its current form if talks fail.

On the other side of the spectrum, 16% of Americans said they would want the deal dismantled if talks fail, compared with 25% of Mexicans.

Free Download: The September 2017 MMI Report

The third round of NAFTA renegotiation talks are scheduled to conclude tomorrow. Whatever happens — a revamped deal, maintenance of the status quo or a wholesale dismantling —  the citizens of each country will certainly have differing opinions on the favorability of the outcome.