The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) reached a unanimous determination that U.S. producers have been materially injured by unfairly-traded imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from the People’s Republic of China. As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) will issue unfair trade orders on imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China in the coming weeks, imposing antidumping duties ranging from 49.85 to 59.72% and countervailing duties ranging from 46.48 to 116.49%. The USITC’s determination brings to a successful conclusion investigations that were self-initiated by the DOC in late November 2017, the first such action by the department in more than 25 years.
“Rules are essential to a functioning global trading system and businesses as well as workers must have confidence that rules are enforced fairly and consistently,” said Heidi Brock, Aluminum Association president and CEO. “Today’s unanimous decision reinforces that message and provides much-needed certainty and confidence to U.S. common alloy sheet producers, allowing them to invest, grow, and add jobs to the US economy. We greatly appreciate the work of the International Trade Commission, as well as the hard work of the Commerce Department, which self-initiated this action under the leadership of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.”
Imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China increased by nearly 32% between 2015 and 2017, and have increased by 731% between 2007 and 2017. China was the largest foreign supplier of common alloy aluminum sheet to the U.S. market in 2017, accounting for nearly 40% of total U.S. imports of that product. Following preliminary determinations by the DOC in April and June, imports of common alloy sheet from China receded considerably, declining by more than 90% relative to the volume of imports preceding the preliminary determinations.
The common alloy aluminum sheet that is subject to the unfair trade investigations 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, and is manufactured from a 1xxx, 3xxx, or 5xxx series alloys. The sheet subject to investigation includes both unclad aluminum sheet, as well as multi-alloy, clad aluminum sheet. Common uses for the product under investigation include gutters and downspouts, building facades, street signs and license plates, electrical boxes, kitchen appliances, and tractor-trailers for trucks. Excluded from the scope of the investigations is aluminum can stock that is suitable for use in the manufacture of aluminum beverage cans, lids, or tabs.
A similar antidumping/countervailing case finalized earlier this year in the aluminum foil market has helped drive several hundred million dollars of domestic investment in that segment, demonstrating the value and impact of targeted trade enforcement action.