AEC Members Demand Action on China Imports

October 6th, 2016 by Editor

Last week, the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), in tandem with the Aluminum Association, called on the U.S. government to act on lingering circumvention and duty evasion issues related to Chinese aluminum extrusion imports and China’s overcapacity in primary aluminum production. Members of the council met with congressional staff members and testified at a U.S. International Trade Commission hearing on aluminum.

One issue that AEC members discussed with congressional staffers was a circumvention and evasion problem with the Zhongwang Group. According to media reports, Zhongwang has been taking incredible efforts to evade the U.S. trade laws by shipping products into the U.S. and Mexico. The Zhongwang Group is a vast network of affiliates involved in the production, transportation and storage of aluminum extrusions and rolled products. The group shuttles aluminum products across borders, circumventing not just U.S. anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders, but also Chinese duties on exports of primary aluminum products. They brings “pallets” (which are semi-welded extrusion products) into the U.S., re-melt them and then sell them as U.S. domestic extrusion products.

“The Commerce Department is close to deciding two important issues, one dealing with the pallets (scope) and another dealing with how Zhongwang is circumventing the extrusion cases by manipulating the metal to avoid duties,” said AEC president Jeff Henderson.Senate staffers were asked to help AEC by requesting a decision from the Commerce Deparment on the issue, which has been languishing for a year.

Aluminum issues at the macro level were also discussed. Specifically, AEC members asked that the senators contact the U.S. Trade Representative’s office to urge it to take Century Aluminum’s World Trade Organization (WTO) case, which is related to China’s overcapacity in primary aluminum production and how that affects the global aluminum market.

“While lower primary aluminum prices seem like a good thing, it’s not,” said Henderson. “China will eventually drive out domestic and other sources, and then our domestic premiums will increase, making us less competitive to our foreign competitors. Eventually our orders go, and then so do we as a domestic industry. Is that really wise, especially since aluminum extrusions are used in a wealth of building and construction, automotive, aerospace and defense applications here in the U.S.?”

Meanwhile, other AEC members testified at the ITC 332 hearing, which had been requested by the Aluminum Association. The commission is studying the impacts of China’s policies in the aluminum industry. Henderson and other industry leaders testified about China’s over-production of extrusions, circumvention and trans-shipment charges, pricing issues and many other concerns.

“It was a very good day for the Aluminum Extruders Council, and we hope to keep the pressure on our government with these important issues,” said Henderson. “The aluminum extrusion industry is not against competition as long as it’s fair,”

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