Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2016

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…

The Half -Million-Dollar Decision

In the last couple of blog entries I’ve mentioned that we are waiting for the International Trade Commission (ITC) to decide if our Sunset Review will be an expedited or full review.  Last week the ITC decided on a 3-3 vote to conduct a full review.  That not only extends the timeline to close the issue, but will end up costing the AEC upwards of $500,000 in staff and legal fees.  Needless to say, this was a most disappointing decision.

This decision does not cause us to downgrade our chances of winning.  As it was in the original filing, no Chinese extruder has come forward to challenge the base case.  Instead, there a couple of like-product challenges for products that have already been defined as covered in scope requests.  So when considering the size of the Chinese aluminum extrusion industry, having only two minor players come forward with scope issues, the decision by the ITC hurts even more.  While the AEC does have the budget and financing to cover this expense, it would have…

Chinese Extrusion Transshipments through Vietnam

In recent months there have been a growing number of reports about aluminum extrusions being imported into the United States from Vietnam.  This recent spike comes at a time when the AEC is watching such reports and import data very carefully.  Given the current policies of the Government of China to export their way out of their self-created overcapacity problems, the AEC is becoming more concerned about the prospect of transshipments from Chinese extruders through Vietnam.

AEC members are asked to contact Jeff Henderson with any reports gathered from the field regarding Vietnamese extrusions coming into the U.S.  All reports will be treated in strict confidence.  It must be determined whether or not there is a pattern in what is being imported.  This pattern could appear in end use markets being targeted, names of the companies exporting product from Vietnam, types of extrusions and finishing, etc.

So, please let Jeff know what you are seeing in the field.  He can be reached at 847.…

Gathering Storm for the Chinese Aluminum Extrusion Industry

As reported last month, the U.S. aluminum extrusion industry is awaiting the International Trade Commission’s decision on whether to hold a full or expedited review of our five-year-long trade case against the People’s Republic of China (PRC).In the meantime, aluminum interests across the free world are developing plans and actions to confront the impending request from China to be granted market economy status (MES) by the World Trade Organization (WTO).Within that debate are issues particularly alarming to aluminum extruders across the globe.

Related: Granting China Market Economy Status will make the whole world less of a market economy
Global trade data continues to confirm that the Chinese continue to push their over-production into their export businesses, which are flooding the world with unwanted aluminum.One semi-fabricated form in which we see this aluminum is extrusion.From warehouses in Southern California to the deserts of Mexico, billions of pounds of aluminum extrusions …

The Calm Before the Storm

Over the last 3 to 5 weeks, much of our activity in the China trade case has been behind the scenes.  Our Sunset Review filings are being finalized and delivered.  The 4th Administrative Review is a few weeks from a preliminary decision, and work on the scope requests is being conducted by our attorneys and the Department of Commerce (DOC).  However, this quiet work will come to its completion in the coming weeks and will either bring us lots of good news that translates into a resolution of many open issues, or put us in a position where we must restart the battles on many, if not all, fronts.

The most important determiner of our future is whether or not the International Trade Commission will call for a full or abbreviated Sunset Review.  The DOC has already ruled they are okay with a partial review.  We will know in a few weeks.

Next is how the Administrative Review unwinds this year.  Most of the major issues we’ve historically faced have been settled in prior reviews.  So, this p…

Fair Trade Update: 5-Year Sunset Review Timeline

If you weren’t in San Antonio last month for our special Fair Trade meeting and our impromptu Town Hall meeting, then you missed the most informative and impactful live discussions we’ve had in many years.  During those sessions we covered everything from the curtain wall case to China 2016.  The announcement from the Department of Commerce (DOC) that they were launching a circumvention case against China Zhongwang and the Chinese aluminum extruders for using the so-called 5050 alloy added a fiery backdrop to our dialogue.

This year is pivotal for our case.  In a matter of weeks we will learn from the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the DOC whether they will want a full Sunset Review or not in this, the five-year anniversary of the trade orders.  We anticipate that it will be a full review, and we are preparing for that eventuality.  While confidence is high that we will be granted another five years, we cannot take that for granted.  Our first order of business is to collect…

The AEC to the DOC: Time’s Up!

For over two years the U.S. aluminum extrusion industry has asked the Department of Commerce (DOC) one simple question: Are the so-called ‘5000-series’ products that have been coming into our market duty-free covered by the scope of our orders or not?  Having anticipated a response last autumn, then this winter, you can imagine our reaction to seeing the can be kicked down the street for another few weeks.

What is different about our approach this time is that in October, we not only filed a scope clarification case, but we also filed a circumvention case.  As a result of that, we are now asking commerce if these extrusions are in scope or a blatant act of circumvention in order to evade duties.  It’s one or the other.  There is nothing on the record that suggests that 5000-series alloy substitution serves any other purpose than to cheat the Federal Government of the United States out of duties and the Aluminum Extruders Council out of the full protection of its orders.

Period.

So, wh…

2016 Will Be Pivotal Year for AEC’s Fair Trade Case

It is hard to believe that it was only five years ago that the U.S. aluminum extrusion industry pulled its resources, data, and resolve together to petition the U.S. Federal Government to initiate tariffs against Chinese extrusion exporters using illegal and unfair trade practices.  Those orders transformed our industry into one of the most vibrant manufacturing niches in our economy.

All across the United States extruders are boasting of new equipment, new market opportunities, and a positive outlook going into 2016.  That is not the case for other aluminum semis coming out of China.  Foil, sheet, and plate are all witnessing the invasion of cheap Chinese imports, which is not only eroding domestic production but also flooding the world with aluminum.  In hindsight it is clear that our industry was right when it determined it would either need to take trade action or watch the market go to the Chinese.

So, here we are at the five-year mark. This is the year we will be reapplying for…