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UPDATE 1-Alcoa asks White House to block U.S. imports of Russian aluminum

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By Ernest Scheyder

Oct 13 (Reuters) - U.S.-based aluminum producer Alcoa Inc on Thursday said it is lobbying the White House to block American imports of the metal from Russia following Moscow's latest military escalation in Ukraine.

Reuters reported this week that President Joe Biden's administration was considering a range of options related to imports of Russian aluminum, including possibly blocking Rusal , the world's largest aluminum producer outside China, from selling its products in the United States.

In March, Biden banned American imports of Russian oil and other energy products. Aluminum was exempt due in part to concerns that such a step could boost consumer prices. Aluminum is used in a range of consumer products as well as airplanes, automobiles and other heavy machinery.

As Russia's


of Ukraine has dragged on this year, Washington has been left with fewer Russian industries to sanction, fueling interest in blocking American purchases of Russian aluminum.

Moscow bombarded Ukraine with more than 100 missiles this week, killing at least 26 people in what Biden called a "brutal" attack.

"Alcoa believes that the U.S. government and other countries should sanction Russian aluminum," spokesperson Jim Beck said in an emailed statement to Reuters on Thursday. The company stopped buying from Russian businesses and selling into Russia in March.

Separately, Alcoa said it has asked the London Metal Exchange to delist Russian aluminum, saying the global contract for the metal "will be disproportionately influenced by one brand that much of the Western world has rejected and would not properly reflect supply and demand dynamics."

Rusal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Any move against Rusal or Russia's aluminum industry would likely benefit Alcoa as well as its non-Russian peers.

Century Aluminum Co did not respond to requests for comment. Rio Tinto, which produces aluminum as well as other metals, declined to comment. (Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)