Aluminium Extruders Council Supports Push To Reform Section 232 Exemption Process

Aluminium Extruders Council Supports Push To Reform Section 232 Exemption Process

The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) this week came out in support of a push by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators urging the Department of Commerce to make changes to its aluminium extruded products tariff.

According to the AEC, the current system has led to an 82-percent rise in overseas extruded aluminium imports, raising the share of foreign importers in the American extruded aluminium market to 25 percent. That share of the market is the largest held by foreign aluminium importers in over a decade.

The AEC expounded on the situation in a related press release.

“The DOC’s current exclusion process allows foreign-made extruded aluminum products to be imported tariff-free under the current rules if a product cannot immediately ‘be produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality.’ If a U.S. aluminum extruder objects to an exclusion, they must prove their company can either produce the extruded product in eight weeks or produce the extruded product faster than any specified foreign competitor. AEC contends that ‘while the spirit of the requirements is reasonable, they have placed an unfair burden on American extruders,’ the letter states.”

The lobbying effort against the current regime of extruded aluminium tariffs is led by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. In addition, senators Mitt Romney, Sherrod Brown, Debbie Stabenow, Rafael Warnock, Bob Casey, and Marco Rubio signed the appeal sent to the Commerce Department.

“U.S. aluminum extruders employ more than 60,000 workers, possess hundreds of presses, and produce over five million custom shapes. The nature of custom manufacturing is that for the individual custom shape to be produced it requires product dimensions and specifications to acquire the necessary tooling, which can take weeks. The DOC nonetheless grants importers exemptions as if they were dealing with shelf-ready mass producers. U.S. aluminum extruders, in turn, have difficulty overturning these exclusions.  Indeed, because of the difficulty U.S. aluminum extruders have had in meeting the DOC’s Aluminum 232 exclusion objection criteria, the DOC adopted a ‘General Approved Exclusion’ or ‘GAE’ process whereby importers of foreign-made aluminum extrusions do not even have to apply for an exclusion to the Aluminum 232 tariffs – they are granted automatically.  As such, AEC urges the DOC to revoke the GAE related to aluminum extrusions and revise the criteria upon which objections can be filed.”

The letter referenced above may be found in its entirety here.