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2018 Year End Update

In the last few weeks we have advanced several open issues important to our trade case against China.  Meanwhile, critical macro-political issues remain open and pose risks to our market in 2019.  Let’s first discuss our case.

The Seventh Administrative Review is underway.  Preliminary results are expected in late January 2019.  The AEC withdrew its requests for mandatory respondents in October.  The Department of Commerce (DOC) will be selecting respondents in December. Given the history of reviews in recent years, there is a high likelihood that no respondents will come forward and rates will remain as they are today: 80% on the dumping case and 26% for the subsidy case.

Scope issues continue to be the most active legal element of our orders.  Working with Endura Products, we continue to push the DOC for a decision in the door threshold cases.  We are waiting for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to announce the date of the curtain wall appeal.  Also, briefings have been filed in the 5050 appeals.  The hearing could take place as early as December.

Trade enforcement is our main area of focus, based on membership requests.  There are two active Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) filings we are working.  One is our Malaysia case and the other is Endura’s threshold case. Decisions from the Department of Customs are due by the end of the year, Q1 at the latest.  We continue to get new reports from our investigative team.  These will be filed as further facts come into focus.  A few weeks ago we sat down with the DOC to discuss our circumvention case against Vietnam.  We pressed them to make a preliminary decision (at least) on our case.  They seemed favorable to our request.  I will be following up with our attorneys in this matter in December to find ways to keep the pressure on the government.

Both the 232 duties involving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) countries and the RUSAL sanctions remain open issues.  The Aluminum Association is working the 232 issue hard in D.C.  They have requested AEC member involvement in persuading the Trump Administration in dropping the tariffs on Canadian and Mexican aluminum product imports.  The AEC recently sent a survey to members asking them if they approve or disapprove of the AEC getting involved in the issue, and how strongly they feel about their position.  The results: 59 respondents support the AEC being involved, while 61 oppose.  However, those that support the AEC’s involvement felt much stronger about their position, on a scale from 1 to 10, with a score of 7.9 vs. a 3.3 score by those that oppose.  The Fair Trade Committee will need to decide how to proceed based on this feedback.  The RUSAL issue is to be decided by the administration on December 12, 2018, baring another extension.  In October, The Department of Treasury gave permission to U.S. firms to enter 2019 agreements with RUSAL.  However, there is no surety of supply.  With premiums cooling from their mid-2018 highs, the biggest risks to the market seems to be rising premiums, and the cost of alumina.

Thank you for your continued support as we head into 2019!

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