The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) issued a preliminary determination on its antidumping duty investigation, noting that imports of certain aluminum foil from China are being priced at less than fair value in the U.S. As a result, the agency will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require U.S. importers of aluminum foil from China to deposit estimated antidumping duties at the time of import.
“Following the positive preliminary countervailing duty determination this summer, the association and its foil-producing members are very pleased with this finding that again underscores the Commerce Department’s commitment to combatting unfair trade,” said Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association. “We appreciate Secretary Ross’s leadership in enforcing rules-based global trade. U.S. aluminum foil producers are among the most competitive producers in the world, but they cannot compete against products that are sold at unfairly low prices and subsidized by the Government of China.”
Based on information gathered to date, the DOC calculated preliminary antidumping margins ranging from 96.81–162.24% of the value of the imported aluminum foil. In particular, the department calculated antidumping margins of 96.81% and 162.24%, respectively, for Jiangsu Zhongji Lamination Materials Co., Ltd. and Hangzhou Dingsheng Import & Export Co., Ltd. and its affiliates, which the DOC selected for mandatory investigation. In addition, the department calculated an antidumping margin of 138.16% for companies that cooperated with the agency’s investigation and requested separate rate status, but were not individually investigated. Finally, the DOC preliminarily established an antidumping margin of 162.24% for all other Chinese producers and exporters that did not participate in the department’s investigation.
The DOC’s determination follows the filing, on March 9, 2017, of antidumping and countervailing duty petitions by the Aluminum Association’s Trade Enforcement Working Group, marking the first time the Aluminum Association has filed unfair trade cases on behalf of its members in its nearly 85-year history.
In August, the DOC announced a preliminary determination that imports of certain aluminum foil from China are benefiting from unfair subsidies provided by the Government of China. As a result of the preliminary subsidy decision, U.S. importers of aluminum foil from China are required to deposit estimated countervailing duties ranging from 16.56 to 80.97% of the value of the imported aluminum foil at the time of import. The DOC is currently investigating 26 different subsidy programs maintained by China.
U.S. aluminum foil production supports more than 20,000 direct, indirect, and induced American jobs, and accounts for $6.8 billion in economic activity. The aluminum foil subject to the DOC’s investigation includes all imports from China of aluminum foil that is less than 0.2 mm in thickness (less than 0.0078 inches) in reels weighing more than 25 pounds and that is not backed, etched for use in capacitors, or cut to shape. The aluminum foil subject to the investigations is used in a variety of consumer and industrial applications, with specific uses that include: household foil, flexible and semi-rigid cookware, product packaging, automotive and HVAC heat exchangers, among other common uses.
The next step in the trade action will be the DOC’s verification of factual information submitted by the Chinese producers participating in the investigations. There will then be an opportunity for parties to submit case and rebuttal briefs to the DOC and to participate in a hearing. Following these events, the department will issue its final antidumping and countervailing determinations. The DOC is expected to issue its final determinations in February 2018.