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U.S. Aluminum Industry Files Unfair Trade Cases Against Imports of Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from 18 Countries

Flat rolled sheet aluminum foil© by EAFA

The Aluminum Association’s Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet Trade Enforcement Working Group filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions against 18 countries, including Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey.

The antidumping petitions allege that common alloy aluminum sheet from these countries was dumped in the U.S. at margins ranging from 15.90 percent to 151.00 percent of the value of the imported common alloy aluminum sheet, causing material injury to the domestic industry. Domestic producers also filed countervailing duty petitions alleging that producers in Bahrain, Brazil, India, and Turkey benefit from numerous government subsidy programs.

“This action reflects both the intensive injury being suffered by U.S. aluminum sheet producers and also the industry’s unwavering commitment to ensure that the U.S. unfair trade laws are enforced to create a level playing field,” said Lauren Wilk, vice president for policy and international trade at the Aluminum Association. “Unfortunately, ongoing aluminum overcapacity in China continues to distort global markets. This expanded AD/CVD action is a symptom of a much larger problem.”

The petitions were filed concurrently with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC). Common alloy aluminum sheet is a flat rolled aluminum product that is used in a variety of applications, including as gutters and downspouts, building facades, street signs, license plates, electrical boxes, pontoon boats, and tractor trailers for trucks. As the petition states,

Aluminum common alloy sheet (common alloy sheet), which is a flat-rolled aluminum product having a thickness of 6.3 mm or less, but greater than 0.2 mm, in coils or cut-to-length, regardless of width. Common alloy sheet within the scope of this order includes both not clad aluminum sheet, as well as multi-alloy, clad aluminum sheet. With respect to not clad aluminum sheet, common alloy sheet is manufactured from a 1xxx-, 3xxx-, or 5xxx-series alloy as designated by the Aluminum Association.

With respect to multi-alloy, clad aluminum sheet, common alloy sheet is produced from a 3xxx-series core, to which cladding layers are applied to either one or both sides of the core.

Common alloy sheet may be made to ASTM specification 8209-14, but can also be made to other specifications. Regardless of specification, however, all common alloy sheet meeting the scope description is included in the scope. Subject merchandise includes common alloy sheet that has been further processed in a third country, including but not limited to annealing, tempering, painting, varnishing, trimming, cutting, punching, and/or slitting, or any other processing that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the order if performed in the country of manufacture of the common alloy sheet.

The petition excludes aluminum can stock used for the production of beverage cans, lids, and tabs.

“The Aluminum Association and its members have long relied on strong international supply chains and we did not take this step lightly,” added Wilk. “But we simply cannot continue in an environment where unfairly traded imports are impacting our members’ ability to operate.”

These cases were filed just 13 months after the U.S. Department of Commerce published antidumping and countervailing duty orders on common alloy sheet from China. These existing duty orders in the U.S. have prompted Chinese producers to shift exports of common alloy sheet to other foreign markets. This has resulted in producers in those countries exporting their own production to the U.S.

The domestic industry filed its petitions for relief in response to large and rapidly increasing volumes of low-priced imports from the subject countries that have injured U.S. producers. The Aluminum Association stated:

Between 2017 and 2019, imports from the subject countries increased by 114% to nearly 750 million lbs. While domestic producers expected to benefit from the publication in early February 2019 of antidumping and countervailing duty orders on imports of common alloy sheet from China — and have pursued substantial capital investments to increase their capacity to supply this product to the U.S. market — aggressively low-priced imports from the subject countries captured all of the market share previously held by imports from China. Between 2017 and 2019, imports from the 18 subject countries increased by more than the decline in the volume of Chinese imports that left the U.S. market (748.3 million lbs vs. 657.6 million lbs).

John M. Herrmann, of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, the petitioners’ trade counsel, added, “Surging imports of unfairly low-priced common alloy aluminum sheet from the subject countries have devastated pricing in the U.S. market and resulted in further injury to U.S. producers following the imposition of measures to address unfairly-traded imports from China in early 2019. The domestic industry looks forward to the opportunity to present its case to the Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission to obtain relief from unfairly traded imports and to restore fair competition in the U.S. market.”

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