The new year is likely not to be one of respite for controversial aluminium extruder China Zhongwang, as the Aluminum Extruders Council filed a new circumvention petition with the United States Department of Commerce against the firm and its affiliates.
The petition, which was filed by the AEC’s Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee (AEFTC), alleges that the aluminium pallets that the Commerce Department determined were exported to the U.S. in a manner intended to evade anti-dumping and countervailing duties assessed against certain aluminium extrusions from the People’s Republic of China were then funneled to Zhongwang’s affiliate Global Vietnam Aluminium Co. on the southeastern coast of Vietnam.
According to AEC, the petition offers evidence that the Vietnamese company has been slightly altering the form of the aluminium, then exporting it to the United States with a declaration that the product’s origin was Vietnam, not China. As the duties against such aluminium don’t apply to Vietnamese aluminium, no duties are assessed on the imported aluminium.
AEC president Jeff Henderson says the petition is yet another battle in the war to stave off an invasion of low-priced aluminium cascading in from the Middle Kingdom.
“This is an important step for our industry to continue the fight to close these transshipment and circumvention points and fully enforce the orders. These blatant attempts to evade duties and flood the market with unfairly traded Chinese aluminum extrusions must be halted.”
Zhongwang, which has categorically and unwaveringly asserted its innocence in the face of these continuing allegations of import improprieties, said in a statement that it denies the allegations: “Once again, the AEC is recycling inaccurate information from the two-year-old Dupre Report. The company does not maintain production facilities in the country, and has no business relationship with Global Vietnam Aluminum Co. Ltd.”.
The AEC has asked Commerce to render its decision sooner rather than later. The petition was made within days of an expected ruling on the Section 232 investigation launched by the Trump administration, which is likely to result in further sanctions against Chinese aluminium importers.