The Aluminum Association has taken a groundbreaking step against the People’s Republic of China’s aluminium trade practices today when it filed its first-ever unfair trade case with the United States government.
The association’s Trade Enforcement Working Group filed cases with the United States Department of Commerce and the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) alleging that the antidumping margins involved in the import of aluminium foil ranged between 38 percent and over 134 percent.
“Today’s action marks the first time the Aluminum Association has filed unfair trade cases on behalf of its members in its nearly 85-year history,” explained the President & CEO of the Aluminum Association Heidi Brock. “This unprecedented action reflects both the intensive injury being suffered by U.S. aluminum foil producers and also our commitment to ensuring that trade laws are enforced to create a level playing field for domestic producers.”
The cases are part of a broader initiative by the association to combat increasing amounts of low-priced imports that have been flooding the United States market as of late. While domestic production of aluminium foil has fallen from 84 percent of domestic demand to 69 percent in the past dozen years, while China’s market share jumped from effectively zero to 22 percent in that time, accounting for 71 percent of aluminium foil imports last year.
“Surging imports of unfairly low-priced aluminum foil from China have devastated pricing in the U.S. market and caused severe injury to the domestic industry,” said the Association’s legal counsel John M. Herrmann of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP. “The domestic industry looks forward to the opportunity to present its case to the Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission to obtain relief from unfairly traded imports from China and to restore fair competition in the U.S. market.”
The next step of the process initiated by these cases will be for the Commerce Department to make a determination as to whether antidumping and countervailing duties investigations should be undertaken, which it must determine within the next twenty days. Additionally, the USITC will make a similar determination regarding whether there has been a material injury or the threat of one within forty-five days. All told, a final determination by the government on the cases filed today is expected to take about a year to complete.
The action taken today by the Association is yet another move by the industry and global governments to apply pressure to Beijing to reign in China’s aluminium industry. The country’s aluminium industry has faced mounting calls from all corners to make structural changes to the industry, citing significant economic and environmental damage that has been (and continues to be) wrought by the country’s massive overcapacity and environmentally-irresponsible production practices.