Aluminum Association request circumvention inquiry

European Aluminium

The Aluminum Association Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet Trade Enforcement Working Group recently requested that the US Department of Commerce initiate a circumvention inquiry.

The Working Group also requested the Commerce Department find that US imports of common alloy aluminium sheet (CAAS) manufactured by Chinese producer Henan Mingtai Aluminium Industry Co., Ltd. (“Mingtai”), and further processed in Korea by Mingtai’s affiliate Gwangyang Aluminum Industries Co., Ltd., are subject to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) under the unfair trade orders on CAAS from China.

In its submission, the Working Group maintains these imports are inappropriately avoiding the payment of antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of CAAS from China, pursuant to unfair trade orders published by the Commerce Department in February 2019.

“We urge the Commerce Department to take action promptly to enforce our trade laws against efforts by a Chinese producer and its Korean affiliate to evade the unfair trade orders on common alloy aluminium sheet from China,” said Charles Johnson, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association.

“The Aluminum Association and its members will not stand by while foreign producers seek to evade unfair trade duties.”

As a result of today’s filing, the Commerce Department will reach a decision on whether to initiate the circumvention proceeding requested by the Aluminum Association and its member companies within 45 days.

Assuming the agency initiates the requested proceeding, it will then collect information from the relevant foreign producers, provide opportunities for interested parties to submit information relevant to the agency’s proceedings and issue a preliminary determination, potentially as soon as mid-September 2023.

The proceeding is expected to take approximately one year to complete. 

The common alloy aluminium sheet at issue in this proceeding includes is a flat-rolled aluminium product having a thickness of 6.3 mm or less, but greater than 0.2 mm, in coils or cut-to-length, regardless of width and is manufactured from a 1XXX-, 3XXX-, or 5XXX-series alloy.

The aluminium sheet at issue includes both unclad aluminium sheet, as well as multi-alloy, clad aluminium sheet.

Common uses for the product under investigation include gutters and downspouts, building facades, street signs and license plates, electrical boxes, kitchen appliances and tractor-trailers for trucks.

Excluded from the scope of the investigations is aluminium can stock that is suitable for use in the manufacture of aluminium beverage cans, lids, or tabs.

In February 2019, the Commerce Department published antidumping and countervailing (AD/CVD) orders on imports of CAAS from China following an action by the Aluminum Association’s Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet Trade Enforcement Working Group. The final combined dumping and subsidy rates ranged from 96 to 176%.

Since those orders were published, US imports of aluminium sheet from China have declined substantially.

Nevertheless, US imports of CAAS from Korea that have been further processed using Chinese flat-rolled aluminium have increased substantially, as a Chinese producer and its Korean affiliate have sought to “work around” the AD/CVD duties assessed on CAAS exported directly from China to the US.  

The Aluminum Association Trade Enforcement Working Group is represented in these inquiries by John M. Herrmann, Paul C. Rosenthal and Joshua R. Morey of the law firm Kelley Drye & Warren LLP. 

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