The Aluminum Association lauded the decision earlier this week by the United States Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) “to develop new system to track imports of aluminum products and provide an early warning system for import surges.” The Department’s request was incorporated in the just-released Congressional budget estimate for the coming fiscal year.
According to the ITA, the system will be an “Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis program” that will enable government regulators to recognize and respond to trends in aluminium imports. Such knowledge would allow them to correct for aluminium misclassification, transshipment, and evasion of import duties.
As part of the proposal, the ITA requested US$3 million in funding to aid in the administration’s job of approving Section 232 exclusion requests and US$2 million to enforce antidumping and countervailing duty orders. The Aluminum Association notes that both of these requests by the ITA are in line with changes they’ve sought for several years.
Lauren Wilk, vice president for policy and international trade at the Aluminum Association, said the welcome move is a good start.
“We are grateful that the administration is moving to create an aluminum import monitoring system and prioritizing additional trade enforcement. We appreciate the bipartisan support we’ve seen for these critically important items, which will help level the playing field for aluminum workers across the country. While significant work remains to secure final funding and establish a robust program, this is a very positive step.”
“Both the U.S. and Canada have now shown a commitment to combat unfairly traded aluminum and we look forward to working with our partners in Mexico to do the same,” Wilk continued. “Unfortunately, we are seeing alarming import spikes into Mexico from non-market economy countries.”
The Aluminum Association has long called for such a system, citing the ongoing harm exacted upon North American aluminium producers by lax enforcement of import regulations. Both Canada and Mexico have made assurances in the course of negotiations of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement last year, with Canada promising to expand the dominion’s import-monitoring system to include aluminium and derived products. Mexico has yet to commence monitoring of aluminium imports, however.