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Aluminum 232 Investigation & Fair Trade Update

This month we will look at the 232 Investigation and provide an update on our Fair Trade case.  After having lived, eaten, and slept the 232 Investigation for the last 11 months, it is hard to believe it’s nearly over.  I say nearly over, because the aluminum industry now has an opportunity to seek exclusions by country or product.  Furthermore, the President has made it clear to excluded countries that they are only conditionally excluded pending the outcome of other trade negotiations.  Nevertheless, the AEC’s shuttle diplomacy to Washington D.C. on this matter is, for all intents and purposes, complete.

Countries and individual companies have already started to seek exclusions.  Both Canada and Mexico were initially excluded, based on a positive outcome to the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations.  Other countries have also been excluded since the announcement.  Now we are seeing and hearing of many companies coming forward seeking specific product exclusions.  The administration appears prepared to process those requests.  On April 5th the AEC hosted a webinar presented by its lead attorney on this matter, Matthew McConkey of Mayer Brown.  You can hear the recorded session on our YouTube channel here.

For the AEC fair trade case, the focus continues to be on trade enforcement.  The AEC launched its petition for a circumvention case against Vietnam earlier this year.  The Department of Commerce (DOC) has since initiated a full investigation.  The results from that investigation are expected towards the end of 2018.  Likewise, the AEC has engaged the Customs and Border Patrol through the new Enforce Act about reports of transshipments coming from other countries.  I will be spending a lot of time on this type of reporting in the coming months.  The U.S. government changed its process in handling reports of transshipment activity.  This new process requires Customs to report certain findings and hit specific deadlines in order to make the investigation more transparent to the reporters.  I have met with the person in charge of this new process and she is excited to support our industry!

Scope issues are still being followed closely in the curtain wall, door threshold, and appliance handle cases.  I have previously reported on our progress in those matters.  At this time there is nothing more to report.

This summer we will be gearing up for the next administrative review, and look forward to the DOC’s announcement about its results on this year’s review.

Be sure to check out the upcoming essentiALs articles related to our trade case.  There are some interesting events taking place, which cannot yet be discussed publicly!  Thank you for your continued trust and support!

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