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Aluminum in the Spotlight

On April 26, 2017, the Secretary of Commerce (“Secretary”) initiated an investigation to determine the effects of aluminum imports on national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (“Section 232”).  On April 27, President Trump signed a memorandum directing Secretary Ross to proceed expeditiously in conducting this investigation.  The President further directed that if the Secretary finds that aluminum is being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances to threaten U.S. national security, he must recommend actions and steps to “adjust” aluminum imports accordingly.  This has become the central point of discussion throughout the industry.  You can read more about it in my comments on the 232 Investigation this month in the June issue AEC's member newsletter essentiALs (you will need to log in as a member to view it). For now, let’s discuss our case and its latest developments.

With the Sunset Review clearly in our rear-vie…

Fair Trade Update: Opportunities and Risk

Over the last thirty days the AEC has begun to feel the impacts of the new administration.  Last month, the administration initiated a 232 Hearing into the domestic aluminum industry.  Just one week prior to that, Trump initiated a 232 Hearing into the domestic steel industry.  Both of these were requested by the United Steel Workers (USW).  (As you may recall, the USW led a short-lived effort to launch a 201 hearing about this time last year.)  You can read more about the 232 process and what it might mean to the AEC here (note: you must be signed in as a member to view the content).  The long and the short of it is that this is both an opportunity and a risk for our industry.  The AEC will be participating in the process as it is imperative that we make our voice heard.  In preparation of that task, we will need your help.  The 232 process grants the U.S. president a wide range of options to address negative trade issues upon U.S. industries based on national security issues.

Theref…

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…

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…