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And, Now We Know…

On December 17, 2014, the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) and Ducker Worldwide will co-host an AEC members-only webinar to announce the findings of Ducker’s study on the impact to our industry of the U.S. aluminum extrusions trade case against Chinese extruders.  It will come as no surprise that hundreds of millions of pounds have returned to the domestic market since the preliminary orders took effect in October 2010. What may be new is:
1)Which end use categories were hardest hit?
2)Which end use categories are vulnerable to extruders if duties should decrease?
3)What is the relationship between tariff rates on Chinese extrusions and market share penetration in the U.S. market?

On these first two items, I invite you to attend the webinar.  On the third item, Ducker’s analysis charted Chinese price differentials to the U.S. market against their market share performance.  This analysis gives the industry its first look at a supply-and-demand curve to the U.S. industry.  This enabled…

5xxx Scope Case Heads to the Next Round

For months the aluminum extrusion industry has been awaiting a decision from the Department of Commerce (DOC) on the scope requests concerning 5000-series products.  In October, the DOC pushed the decision date out to November 7, 2014.  On November 7th the DOC announced its decision to launch a formal scope proceeding on the subject.  While the Department did not take the opportunity to affirmatively state that 5xxx products that have been heat treated were covered by the scope, the fact that they initiated a formal proceeding indicates that they feel it is a close call and worth further examination.  All parties will have until November 28, 2014 to submit their final comments.  The deadline for rebuttal comments is December 8, 2014.

The Aluminum Extruders Council’s Fair Trade Lobbying team has spent many hours in person, and on the phone, looking for support from elected officials.  That effort has translated into numerous calls and letters to DOC Assistant Secretary for Enforcement…

Extruders Make their Voices Heard in D.C. during Aluminum Week

Aluminum Week was promoted as an opportunity for the aluminum industry to take their case to our nation’s capital, and boy, did we!  From Monday, September 29 through Wednesday, October 1, the Aluminum Extruders Council’s Fair Trade Committee lobbying team took full advantage of the venue.  The team started their week with a trip to the Department of Commerce (DOC) Monday afternoon to meet with Paul Piquado, assistant secretary of the Commerce Department's Enforcement and Compliance division.  Later that day, the group headed to the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) office to discuss its key role in appealing the MacLean-Fogg decision handed down earlier this summer.

On Tuesday, your Fair Trade Committee members went to our legal teams’ office to participate in a trade industry meeting hosted by a group known as CSUSTL.  CSUSTL stands for the Committee to Support United States Trade Laws, which was formed by a variety of industries being impacted by trade issues and leg…

Importers Plead Guilty to Import Scheme in Puerto Rico

In last month’s blog we warned those who conspire to circumvent U.S. tariffs on Chinese aluminum extrusions would be caught, prosecuted, and convicted.

According to El Vocero de Puerto Rico, this week importers plead guilty to Federal Judge Francisco Besosa. As part of the plea agreement employers are fined $1,000 and face a forfeiture of $4 million.  Samuel Garcia Adarme, Edrick García Vázquez, Armando García Vázquez, Carlos Minguela and PRP Trading Corporation will be sentenced on December 17. The article goes on to say, “The group was indicted by a Grand Jury on July 20, 2013, together with the companies Screens & Aluminum Industries Sales and Aluwest.  According to the indictment, the conspiracy was for defendants Adarme García and García Vázquez brothers and Minguela Ortiz with assistance from Tang Piu Wong, [to] buy aluminum in China, Malaysia transported, repackaged it and created false invoices to make it appear that the Aluminum was originally from Malaysia and then brin…

The Aluminum Extruders Council Supports Chinese Imports

I bet you never thought you’d hear me say that, right?

The Fair Trade Committee has worked hard over the last five years to create a fair and level playing field for aluminum extrusion shipments from China.  Over the last couple of years we have seen a combined duty of approximately 42%.  Even though we can’t say with certainty the rate will not change, it seems as though we have hit a plateau.  One interpretation of this is that the U.S. government has looked at our case – now for the fourth time – and concluded that the tariff needed to level the playing field on a fair basis is 42%.  It is on this basis that the AEC can now say it supports Chinese extrusions.  Our ambition from the beginning was to find the right duty that accounts for the unfair and illegal trade practices of Chinese extruders that mercilessly dumped their products into our market during the Great Recession.

Furthermore, it should be noted that if a Chinese exporter or an American importer of aluminum extrusions…

McLean-Fogg Ruling Threatens Tariff Calculations

To properly explain this ruling, let me start with a little background.  Every year the Department of Commerce (DOC) conducts an administrative review on the anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty rates.  The review begins with the DOC inviting Chinese exporters and U.S. importers to petition the DOC for a separate rate (i.e., a rate separate from the China-wide rate (“PRC-rate”)).  In our case the number of requests has ranged from 50 to 70 or so in the second review covering up to 150 companies for which reviews have been request and  a similar number in the third annual review just getting underway.  From this pool of requests the DOC will select two mandatory respondents to review and provide production data, sales records, and a myriad of other documentation the DOC will use to calculate dumping and subsidy rates for the current review period.  At the end of the review, the two mandatory respondents will be forced to pay the new calculated assessment rate covering impor…

Circumvention and the False Claims Act

Circumvention has been one of the key topics of discussion this year in the U.S.-China aluminum extrusion trade case.  In this month’s blog entry I will discuss the False Claims Act.  As you may recall, earlier this year the AEC reported that several companies in the Tai Shan case had settled allegations of False Claims Act violations brought by the Department of Justice. This news triggered a number of discussions among AEC membership about circumvention in general and generated a lot of questions about the False Claims Act.
As the Council’s program manager on the Fair Trade Case, this year part of my journey has been to learn more about circumvention and what the United States government is doing to enforce trade orders.  The government has shown significant interest in investigating companies that have allegedly falsified documentation during the importation of aluminum extrusions.  Such conduct could be considered a violation of the False Claims Act, meaning it could trigger an inv…
The Financial Impact of the China Trade Case  Nearly five years ago the industry came together under the leadership of the Aluminum Extruders Council to develop a strategic plan for the industry.  This plan was designed to expand the extrusion market in North America.  It contained defensive and offensive elements. The defense strategy took aim at protecting our market from illegal and unfair trade practices causing an explosion of imports into the U.S. market in 2009. Our offense strategy developed industry promotion actions intended to expand and promote the use of aluminum extrusions.  As these strategies were executed, the United States economy began its slow yet steady rally from the depths of the Great Recession.  I’d like to illustrate how those elements worked together to deliver over one billion more pounds in aluminum extrusion shipments in 2013 compared to 2009. This 32 percent increase in volume has led to extruders investing more than $700 million in the last two years.  …

AEC Members: The Lifeblood of Fair Trade Action

The lifeblood of the U.S. industry’s trade action against Chinese extruders is the energy of its members.  That energy manifests itself as action, communication, and financial participation.  By the end of 2013 the industry had invested over $5.5 million in legal fees and other costs associated with winning, and subsequently defending this case since the process began in late 2009.  This investment has gone to winning the original petition, fighting off a major court decision referred to as GPX, dozens of scope requests and appeals, the first annual administrative review, and a substantial down payment on the second annual administrative review. As 2014 takes shape it is clear that this battle will continue to rage.  I want to lay out the costs, and present our 2014 funding strategy.
For the rest of the story, click here (AEC members-only credentials required; for information on becoming an AEC member, visit www.aec.org/about/memberinfo.cfm

2014 Outlook – Extrusion Industry Sees Eventful Year in US/China Trade Case

In our essentiALs January 22nd email, AEC members were updated about the recent events in the China import case. Now, I’d like to outline the key issues for 2014. There are three significant areas the industry will focus on this year. The first is administrative reviews, the second is scope requests, and the third is the continued lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill.

The first annual Administrative Review came to an end in late 2013, and the second review is now well underway. As you may recall, there were over 60 Chinese extruders and U.S. importers that sought separate countervailing (CVD) and anti-dumping (AD) rates from the combined People’s Republic of China (PRC)-wide entity rate of over 160 percent. The Department of Commerce (DOC) selected three companies to review as being representative for all requests. In these reviews, the respondents attempt to lower their dumping and subsidy margins by demonstrating that they are not part of the PRC-wide entity and have not received c…