The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of aluminum foil from the People’s Republic of China. The DOC determined that imports of certain aluminum foil from China are being sold at less than fair value (or “dumped”) in the U.S. and that aluminum foil producers in China are benefiting from actionable government subsidies. The department determined that exporters from China sold aluminum foil in the U.S. at 48.64–106.09% less than fair value, and also determined that China is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of aluminum foil at rates of 17.14–80.97%.
These determinations mark the end of its proceedings initiated following the filing in March 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.
“The Aluminum Association and its foil-producing members are extremely pleased with the Commerce Department’s final determinations that aluminum foil from China is being sold unfairly in the United States,” 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.”
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. In 2016, imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at an estimated $389 million.
The aluminum foil subject to the DOC’s investigation includes all imports from China of aluminum foil that is 0.2 mm or less in thickness (less than 0.0078 inches) in reels weighing more than 25 lbs and that is not backed, etched for use in capacitors, or cut to shape. The 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.
As a result of these AD and CVD decisions, the DOC will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of aluminum foil based on the final rates. The next step in the trade cases will be the United States International Trade Commission’s (ITC) final phase determination of whether imports from China are a cause of material injury or threaten to materially injure domestic producers of certain aluminum foil. If the ITC makes affirmative final injury determinations, the DOC will issue AD and CVD orders. If the ITC makes negative final determinations of injury, the investigations will be terminated and no orders will be issued. The ITC is tentatively scheduled to vote on March 15, 2018.
This DOC determination and investigation have no bearing on the 232 report on aluminum, as a result of which President Trump has announced plans to impose a 10% tarrif on aluminum imports (although full details on how the tariffs will be imposed are not available yet).