Commerce Department Issues a Preliminary Ruling on Dumped Chinese Aluminum

The Commerce Department today found that imports of aluminum foil from China are subsidized. Reuters says:

U.S. aluminum foil producers had filed petitions with the U.S. government accusing Chinese producers of receiving subsidies and of "dumping" the product in the United States market, the first such case since President Donald Trump took office.

This preliminary ruling is gonna result in countervailing duties ranging from 16.56 percent to 80.97 percent – the Chinese companies that ignored the Commerce probe or gave incorrect information facing duties on the higher end. The plaintiffs were pleased with this result.

China has very quickly become the world’s leading producers of aluminum (In 2000, it accounted for 11 percent of global production; today, it accounts for more than half). Its industry did that not only with moxie and pluck, but an absolute load of government support.

(Kinda makes the arguments of free trade acolytes warning your Coors Light may cost another dime disingenuous – there’s precious little market-based in the Chinese aluminum industry.)  

Anyway, so much aluminum has flooded in recently that we’re down to only a handful of smelters in the entire country – and only one (in Kentucky) makes the high-purity aluminum that can be used in military applications.

The Trump administration is currently undertaking Section 232 investigations into imports of aluminum and steel, to determine if the increasingly one-sided trade flow of these commodities is harmful to national security. If it determines those trade flows are harmful, President Donald Trump could institute a slew of corrective measures, which would make this aluminum foil case small potatoes in comparison.

Will they? Won’t they? We think they should. Businesses and workers alike say the uncertainty has been painful. We’re watching closely to see what the administration does.


Reposted from AAM