Section 232 Investigation Hearing Clarifies Aluminum Industry’s Position
June 28, 2017; Wauconda, Illinois – On June 22, the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) testified at the public hearing of the Section 232 Investigation on the Effects of Imports of Aluminum on U.S. National Security. The AEC is encouraged that this Administration recognizes the importance of the domestic aluminum industry and its key role in our nation’s defense and critical infrastructure. For decades aluminum extrusions have been used in military applications ranging from plated material designed to protect American soldiers from IEDs to key components in the next generation of warplanes. Furthermore, nearly 40% of all extrusions consumed in the U.S. go into applications identified by Homeland Security as critical infrastructure.
In 2010, the Aluminum Extruders Fair Trade Committee, on behalf of the U.S. aluminum extrusion industry, successfully filed for protection from the unfair and illegal trade practices of China. Those orders, finalized in April 2011, have brought much-needed relief to the U.S. industry. Those orders resulted in bringing jobs back to American factories and enabling aluminum extruders to invest over $1.5 billion in much-needed capital projects. This investment has now positioned the industry to offer new and innovative solutions that will further support America’s military and critical infrastructure.
However, the positive effects of these orders have come under attack as Chinese companies continually work to find ways to evade the tariffs. Already two major transshipment schemes have been prosecuted and a myriad of scope and circumvention schemes have been dismantled. The AEC is now seeing a new round of dumped extrusions coming from Vietnam and other South East Asian nations. In many cases, the roots of these actions appear to be from China. As AEC President Jeff Henderson testified last week, from 2011-2016 imports from China into Vietnam have increased by almost 4,000%, while imports from Vietnam into the United States have increased by nearly 8,000% during the same time. The AEC calls upon the Administration to place duties on imports from countries that enable Chinese extruders to circumvent the established aluminum extrusion antidumping and countervailing duties orders in this way.
The AEC was also pleased to add their voice to those that testified last week in saying ‘no’ to tariffs being placed on imported primary aluminum. This action will not stop the threat from China’s overproduction of aluminum since that country does not export primary aluminum. In fact, U.S. tariffs on primary aluminum will paradoxically support China’s policies of subsidizing their semi-fabricated aluminum producers through restraints on primary aluminum exports. Placing tariffs on good trading partners with market-based economies is the wrong action, directed at the wrong target.
“If there was one point that nearly all who testified last week agreed upon, it is that Chinese overproduction of aluminum is the issue that has created the aluminum crisis in the United States – plain and simple,” said Henderson. “Any measure that misses that mark will instead work in the favor of the Chinese aluminum industry.”
In the coming weeks, the AEC will be taking this message to policy makers and members on Capitol Hill to be sure it is heard. “One thing that is undeniable in the AEC trade experience is that a cogent and well-targeted trade policy CAN and WILL produce the results the domestic industry needs. However, we must enforce our orders,” said Henderson.
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The AEC has led the U.S. aluminum extrusion industry in achieving level competition by winning tariff protection that offsets unfair trade practices of extruders/importers of aluminum profiles produced in China. The efforts have been of enormous value to domestic extruders and suppliers. They may have saved the industry. Conservatively, AEC estimates 800 million pounds per year of extrusions are being produced in the U.S. that would have otherwise been lost to China. For more information, visit www.AECFairTrade.org.
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), established in 1950, is an international association dedicated to advancing the effective use of aluminum extrusion in North America. AEC is committed to bringing comprehensive information about extrusion's characteristics, applications, environmental benefits, design and technology to users, product designers, engineers and the academic community. Further, AEC is focused on enhancing the ability of its members to meet the emerging demands of the market through sharing knowledge and best practices. Advocacy programs ensure that aluminum extruders, suppliers and their products remain relevant and viable in an ever-changing legislative and regulatory climate. More than 120 member companies represent primary aluminum producers and other industry suppliers in addition to aluminum extruders operating hundreds of extrusion presses in hundreds of plants worldwide. For more information, visit the website at www.aec.org; contact AEC at firstname.lastname@example.org.