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Our China Trade Case – Remember That?

It’s sometimes hard to remember that the AEC has a trade case against China.  With all of the news regarding the 232 Investigation, the Russian Sanctions, and the fallout we’ve experienced, I find myself having to leave tasks on my calendar to be sure I am dialed into the ins and outs of our anti-dumping/countervailing duties (AD/CVD) cases.  When I do review the cases and get dialed in again, I am quite happy with how it’s going.

That’s because our initiatives are starting to gain traction.  Take, for example, our Vietnam Circumvention case.  The deadline for filing briefs in this matter has come and gone with no reply from the other side.  Therefore, we are in a strong position to ask the Department of Commerce for their preliminary ruling so that duties can be applied at once.  The final ruling in this matter is due December 24, 2018.  However, the sooner we can get to a preliminary decision, the better for our domestic industry.  There will be more to come on this in the coming weeks.

We are also close to being able to announce another win from our trade enforcement efforts.  By the end of May, we hope to have a public announcement from Customs in this matter.  I am also ambitiously thinking this will be the beginning of the AEC’s renewed focus on trade enforcement.
While there are no new scope requests to announce, or decisions released, we continue to work hard on the door threshold scope challenge and support the curtain wall case.  Similarly, we are still awaiting the decision in the two appliance handle cases, which could open the door for us to relitigate prior rulings in which we lost.

So, now to the headlines!  At one point in the road in recent weeks, it appeared the 232 Investigation was going to come full circle and wind up being the biggest non-event since the Y2K phenomenon.  However, it was announced in April that the Administration was only going to negotiate tariff exclusions in exchange for quotas.  Suddenly, this has turned from bad to worse.  In light of the upheaval in the market from the RUSAL fallout in the Russian Sanctions, quotas being placed upon key primary aluminum imports into the U.S. are a disaster in the making.  Along with the Aluminum Association, who is leading on this point, we are stepping up our messaging to the Administration in an effort to dissuade them from this disastrous policy.  Most in the industry are sensing that the aluminum market is being used by Trump to negotiate larger deals.  Therefore, there is a cautious optimism that the market has enough time to sort this out, and the Administration will not allow metal shortages to occur in the U.S. Even still, all bets are off, and the AEC will do what it can to promote our interests.

There have been a number of members in the last 2-3 weeks asking for help with the Administration on the Russian Sanctions.  To this end, the AEC is consulting with attorneys that are worthy of helping our members.  While most of that type of help will need to be done directly by the member and the attorney(s), we may be able to put a webinar together to address some of the key issues.

As hard as it may be to think about our trade case during trying times like these, I want to be sure you know that it is going very well.  I look forward to being able to go public with a string of great announcements in the coming weeks and months.  Now, if we could just convince the President to stop ‘saving’ our industry, we would be in great shape!

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