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Growing Threat From Vietnam, Malaysia

For those of you who attended last month’s Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference, you are well aware of the growing threats we are seeing in the market.  While our own case continues to hold up nicely, there are a variety of issues involving trade enforcement that are becoming the front-and-center issue of our trade orders.  To that end, our lead attorney, Robert DeFrancesco, discussed the opportunities that may arise from the new administration.  Afterwards, we participated in our annual Town Hall and discussed these growing threats and how we may be able to approach Washington with the hope of more help.

Story after story from the members in attendance discussed the increased shipments from Vietnam and Malaysia, and their impact in certain markets.  For many of us, it sounded like “deja vu all over again”!  However, we do have a variety of options, and in the weeks to come we will be exploring those options.  With the new administration beginning to discuss trade and trade poli…
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ITC Sunset Hearing, Like Product Challenges, Century’s WTO Case and More

Last month the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) testified before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in its request to have our trade orders against the Chinese aluminum extrusion industry renewed for another five years.  Those that testified included Brook Hamilton, Bonnell Aluminum Extrusion Company, Sue Johnson, Futura Industries, Jason Weber, Sapa Extrusions, Rick Merluzzi, Metal Exchange/Pennex, Bennett McEvoy, Western Extrusions, Jeff Henderson, AEC, and Alan Price and Robert DeFrancesco from Wiley Rein.  We expect to hear the ITC’s decision next month.

The hearing went very well.  We remain confident that the ITC will renew our orders.  However, there were ‘like product’ challenges to our case that required defense.  Like product challenges are similar to scope requests.  In essence the argument is whether a certain product, or family of products, should be excluded from the orders because they are so different from aluminum extrusions.  Three products were challenged: he…

On the Eve of the Sunset Review

This month representative members of the Aluminum Extruders Council will join me in Washington D.C. to testify before the International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking another five years of trade protection from our orders.  This hearing will be followed by a decision from the ITC to either end or extend our orders.  We are confident in our success. Please note that once again no one representing the Chinese extrusion industry will be present to rebut our testimony.  So, it seems reasonable to expect our petition to be extended.

There will be companies testifying that their particular product should be excluded from the orders because it is not a ‘like product’ to extrusions.  We saw this in 2011 when representatives from the shower and bath industry and from a heat sink manufacturer made their case that they should be excluded because what they bought from extruders was so dissimilar to a ‘real extrusion’.  In that round the shower and bath folks lost, but the heart sink manufacturer…

Several Key Issues in Play

As we head into December there are several key issues in play.

Sunset Review Wiley Rein has gathered information from the industry and is quickly converting that into a filing for our case.  They have told me that we had a good representation of the industry in the data collected.

Remaining Timeline January 10, 2017Prehearing Report Issued
January 18, 2017 Prehearing Briefs
January 19, 2017 Request to appear at Hearing
January 25, 2017 Prehearing Conference
January 26, 2017 Hearing
February 6, 2017 Post-Hearing Briefs
February 23, 2017 Report to the Commission (APO Release)
March 1, 2017         APO Release
March 3, 2017         Final Comments
March 10, 2017         Commission Vote
March 27, 2017         Determination Expected

Administrative Review We received the DOC’s final determination in this year’s Administrative Review.  As expected, Commerce found that Chinese producers dumped aluminum extrusions in the U.S. market during the period of review (May 2014-April 2015) in margins r…

The Defense of our Orders

For months now I’ve reported that the center of the universe for our Chinese aluminum extrusion tariff orders has moved from being petitioners, to fighting through an unprecedented number of scope issues, to now, defending our orders.  To that end we have a number of issues still on the table and still unresolved.  We are now well over a year since we petitioned the Department of Commerce (DOC) to do something about the fake pallets and 5000-series alloy issue.  During that time we have visited with the DOC, sought and received help and political pressure on the DOC from many of our senators, and even put pressure on them through the media.  Finally, late last week we received the preliminary decision from the DOC on the 5050 alloy issue.  Now we wait for the pallet decision.

For some time now we have been taught by the DOC’s lack of responsiveness that the only way to get some movement is to harass our elected officials into berating the DOC.  With the election just days away, at the…

Making Our Case Known

In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal wrote back-to-back articles about Zhongwang and Aluminum Shapes.  In a scathing indictments the Journal linked Zhongwang to the massive inventory of aluminum extrusions in Mexico and connected Aluminum Shapes to Zhongwang about the so-called aluminum pallets.  Consequently, both Zhongwang and Aluminum Shapes came out with their denials.  Regardless, the issue certainly has grabbed the attention of the Department of Commerce (DOC) and Customs.

For the AEC the timing was perfect.  With our fall conference located in Washington DC, we were able to take our case to Capitol Hill asking for support in pressing Commerce on a decision about the pallets.  We expect the DOC to rule in our favor on the pallet issue by declaring them within the scope of our orders and therefore subject to tariffs and fines.  If the DOC should decide not to call the pallets in scope, then our petition calls on them to immediately launch a circumvention investigation. …

All Aboard! Here we Go!

Earlier this summer I suggested we were sitting in the eye of a storm.  With many decisions regarding our trade case on the horizon, we were busily preparing for the industry changing issues we were hurtling to confront.  Now, here we are.

Over the next few months, the AEC will be involved in topics ranging from circumvention of our orders by substituting 6xxx series alloy extrusions with a so-called 5xxx series alloy, to China’s attempt to be recognized as a market economy thus attaining full status at the World Trade Organization.  The good news is that we are ready, and confidence is high.

Many of you have responded to our trade alerts seeking field intelligence about 5xxx series alloy shipments and new shipments coming in from Vietnam.  Both go to the heart of our claims to the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.  Your reports are fueling the very investigations that will bring these matters to a positive conclusion for us.  Please keep us inf…