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AEC Meets with Department of Commerce about the Aluminum 232

 Last month the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) met with the Department of Commerce (DOC) to discuss our concerns with the Aluminum 232.  This meeting, which I was told we would never get because the new administration was simply too busy with their transition into power, was a direct result of our email campaign to our legislators last month executed by you, the members.  I want to call out Guy Charpentier with Bonnell Aluminum for his effort and result.  Working through the newly elected Senator Warnock’s office, Guy was able to persuade them to set this meeting up for us.  And, they did! It was an excellent meeting.  We were happy to see several officials from the DOC attend, including the person responsible for the entire 232 program.  I had met with him earlier when the 232 was being considered.  I warned him of several risks to our market if the 232 was enacted.  This meeting set us up for a bit of a “I told you so!” moment.  They listened to us, and they told us they heard us.
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Good, Better, and Bad

 Over the last month our industry has seen several issues settled in our favor, and one that is not.  While our trade case against China has had a series of positive outcomes, the Trump Administration left us a problem to deal with in the aluminum Section 232 issue. The 8th Administrative Review in our countervailing duty (CVD) case just concluded.  All but two Chinese extruders will be subject to a 242% duty.  The two Chinese extruders that participated in the review will have a CVD rate of 16%.  The results from the 8th Administrative Review anti-dumping (AD)case are pending. An announcement is expected anytime.  We anticipate the rates to remain at 86%.  This is good news.  If the AD rates hold, this means to total tariff for Chinese imports will be 328%, except for two companies, which will get a rate of 102%.  This rate has proven itself to be effective in holding Chinese imports to less than 1% of our market.  This was good news! Of course, high tariffs bring circumvention effort

Let the Fireworks Begin!

 Some months ago, I wrote that there were several matters in our case that were under review and pending decisions.  Once those decisions were made, we would then see a series of great results.  Now, here they come.  Having seen two such wins in the last couple of weeks I am now more certain than ever that many more are coming. This month we heard from the Department of Commerce about the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA) case filed by Ta Chen against Kingtom in the Dominican Republic.  The verdict was clear and Kingtom lost.  This is a significant win for us, even though we did not file it.  However, we have filed our own case against Kingtom and we expect that decision on January 21, 2021.  The DOC is finding that Kingtom did circumvent our trade orders by co-mingling Chinese-produced aluminum extrusions with Dominican product.  These cases are kept under wraps, and we are not allowed to publicly discuss until certain thresholds in the case are met.  So, as I can, and as is prudent, I w

Key Trade Issues to be Addressed Soon

 Those of you that follow our case closely know that much of our effort in recent years has focused on scope issues and trade enforcement.  For quite some time we have enjoyed a fair-trade relationship with China. By this I mean the Federal Government of the United States has established anti-dumping and countervailing duties that total approximately 100%.  Since the implementation of these orders, traditional imports of aluminum extrusions from China have held at less than 1% of our market.  Contrast this with the high level of activity we have seen in our case centering on which extrusions should be excluded from the duties and defending our borders against circumvention and transshipment. One disturbing new development we had to confront is the introduction of a Chinese owned and operated facility in the Dominican Republic.  Since its opening, members across the southeast United States have seen this operation make many attempts to penetrate our market.  Earlier this year two claims

Routine Matters - But Not Ordinary

 This month, we will discuss active matters in our case and a brief look ahead. As we look forward to 2021, several pending key decisions will help define the kind of environment we are likely to face as we transition into a new administration. While some of these matters look routine, the underlying precedent in our case that they represent is anything but ordinary.  Kingtom has been selected as the sole mandatory respondent in the 9th Administrative Review on the Anti-Dumping side. Kingtom recently changed their import status and became the importer of record in shipments into the U.S. over the summer. During this time, we have seen imports climb. The administrative review process is an excellent opportunity for us to make the case they should be subject to the Chinese duties. Meanwhile, an EAPA from Ta Chen against Kingtom is in its final stages. A decision is imminent, and should Ta Chen prevail, our case against them will be strengthened. The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) rece

Post-Conference Update

First of all I want to thank everyone that attended the Fair Trade sessions during our Virtual Fall Management Conference.  It was good to have that chance to discuss the range of issues we face as we look to close out 2020.  One thing is certain; if we stick together we will get through this and continue our winning ways in the defense of our trade orders. I’ll start with the 9th Administrative Review.  We are fully engaged in the process at this point.  Our attorneys and the Fair Trade Committee have worked together to develop a strategy we believe will keep the current duties in place.  With the combined rate at approximately 106%, we have an excellent deterrent.    Furthermore, we hope to prosecute our position in a financially beneficial way, thus providing us with funding to go after other scope or circumvention issues.  A preliminary decision on both cases could come as early December 2020. Our scope challenges continue to work their way through the Department of Commerce and th

The Wait is Over

 Last month we reported that we found ourselves in-between announcements from the Administration about a number of issues.  This month we have our answers, whether we like them or not!  Over the last few days the AEC has issued a number of Trade Alerts about the President’s decision to re-impose the aluminum 232 tariffs on Canada. Those new orders will only cover unalloyed, unwrought aluminum.  No downstream products were included in this decision.  Shortly thereafter, Canada retaliated by imposing a 10% tariff on several aluminum related products from the United States, including aluminum extrusions.  Since then, Canadian manufacturers, much like those in the U.S. did, voiced their opposition to Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision.  So, there we have it. After the dust settles, U.S. extruders expected Trump’s reinstatement of the 232 tariffs might bring about raw material price parity with Canada.  Whether that plays out or not is left to be seen.  Nevertheless, even if parity on raw ma