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US aluminum industry files dumping action against Chinese foil

The Aluminum Association's Trade Enforcement Working Group on Thursday filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions alleging that unfairly traded imports of certain aluminum foil from China are causing material injury to the domestic industry. 

The antidumping margins alleged by the domestic industry range from 38% to more than 134% of the value of the imported aluminum foil. The domestic industry's countervailing duty petition alleges that Chinese producers benefit from 27 separate government subsidy programs. 

The petitions were filed concurrently with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission and apply to aluminum foil that is used in a variety of consumer and industrial applications. These include household foil, flexible and semi-rigid cookware, product packaging, automotive and HVAC heat exchangers, among other common uses. 

"This action is part of the industry's broad trade strategy to address Chinese overcapacity throughout the value chain," the association said in a statement. According to Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, this action -- the first time the Aluminum Association has filed unfair trade cases on behalf of its members in its nearly 85-year history -- "reflects both the intensive injury being suffered by US aluminum foil producers and also our commitment to ensuring that trade laws are enforced to create a level playing field for domestic producers." 

The domestic industry filed its petitions for relief in response to large and increasing volumes of low-priced imports of aluminum foil from China that have allegedly injured US producers. According to the Association, 12 years ago, US production accounted for about 84% of all domestic aluminum foil demand and currently that has dropped to 69%. 

At the same time, Chinese imports grew from essentially 0% of the total US aluminum foil market in 2004 to 22% of the market today. Aluminum foil imports from China have grown by nearly 40% since 2014. In 2016, Chinese products accounted for about 71% of the total U.S. aluminum foil imports. 

The petition alleges that Chinese producers have injured the domestic industry by selling their aluminum foil at unfairly low prices that significantly undercut domestic market prices. 

"Chinese producers have massive capacity to produce aluminum foil and have been exporting large and increasing volumes of unfairly low-priced and subsidized merchandise to the United States that have devastated conditions in the US market," said the Association. "Those price declines are likely to continue to hurt US producers if duties are not imposed to level the playing field." 

The Commerce Department will determine whether to initiate the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations within 20 days, and the USITC will reach a preliminary determination of material injury or threat of material injury within 45 days. The entire investigative process will take approximately one year, with final determinations of dumping, subsidization, and injury likely occurring in the first quarter of 2018.


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