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US Petition For Higher Aluminum Import Tariffs Dropped

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

27 April 2016

The United Steelworkers, a trade body, has decided to suspend a Section 201 petition it had previously presented that had requested increased tariffs to be imposed on US imports of primary unwrought aluminum.

The Section 201 petition sought the imposition of increased tariffs by July this year, if the US International Trade Commission had decided that imports of primary unwrought aluminum are causing serious injury to the US domestic industry.

"We have decided to suspend our petition seeking action to restore competitive prices in the US and global primary unwrought aluminum markets," said USW International President Leo Gerard. "Our goal, as outlined in the petition and in the relief sought, was to address the root cause of the problem that has devastated aluminum production and employment in the United States: China's overcapacity and its predatory and protectionist trade policies."

It has been alleged that semi-finished aluminum products (without alloying) are being exported from China to Vietnam, Malaysia, and Mexico, thereby avoiding the Chinese export duty on unwrought primary products and creating a new country of origin. After re-melting, ingots and billets are then resold globally as "primary aluminum."

"The petition we filed was based on the tools available," Gerard added. "We believe the Section 201 case would have resulted in immediate price increases that would have helped to maintain domestic production and employment, as well as ensuring that producers in the United States and Canada would be able to obtain a fairer price for their products. Many in the industry refused to support the case."

He concluded that "these are complex issues and many parties are placing short-term interests over the long-term viability of the sector. This opposition could have resulted in no relief for the remaining domestic industry and our members."

Earlier this month, the US International Trade Commission launched an examination of the US aluminum industry and global aluminum trade, with particular reference to the practices of Chinese exporters. However, this report is not expected until June next year.

TAGS: tax | mining | export duty | tariffs | China | manufacturing | trade disputes | United States | import duty | trade

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