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Fair Trade: December 2013 Update

Fair Trade - December 2013

U.S. Extruders Act to Halt Wavering on Tariff Waivers

For the past three years, domestic extruders have benefitted from the decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to apply and uphold tariffs on imported Chinese extrusions. This level playing field has been one on which U.S. extruders have been winning in 2011, 2012 and 2013. (Note: For Canadian extruders, the winning extends back even further, covering the five-year period 2009 thru 2013.)

However, a series of recent wrong-headed decisions by DOC, in which items previously included in the tariff scope have been erroneously excluded, has threatened to tip the playing field again. AEC and U.S. extruders across the nation have been working hard these past six months to get DOC to reverse direction and return to the original scope interpretations that characterized their prior work on "Scope Requests". AEC's position was spelled out in a November email to government officials:

"Commerce has recently issued a series of scope (product coverage) rulings that have undermined the efficacy of cases by severely limiting the types of products covered. Commerce also inappropriately selected the Philippines to value the cost of producing an aluminum extrusion in China. As a result, it is opening up a path by which the Chinese producers will renew their unfair trade practices."

This is another significant challenge to the Fair Trade rulings that have saved the U.S. and Canadian extrusion industries. AEC and its constituents have consistently risen to past challenges and successfully defended these tariff orders. It appears that same level of determination is needed yet again.

The U.S. DOC is overseen by political appointees who are subject to approval by Congress. This provided an avenue for AEC to bring to bear political pressure to bolster our legal and logical arguments. Recently, AEC requested extruders contact their Congressman, asking them to write letters to DOC. You acted swiftly and decisively!

As a result, Congress is now acting on our behalf. Twelve Senators and seventeen House Representatives have signed onto letters to DOC arguing our case, saying preservation of Fair Trade in our industry is "vital" to the advancement of American manufacturing.

This advocacy is very powerful. Time will tell how effective this outreach has been, but prospects for improvement of our position are good. More importantly, it is an example of how the system, complex as it is, can work for the good of domestic manufacturing and the products, the jobs and the families that depend on it. Thanks to all of our members who got us to this point; let's keep up the good work!