Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Commerce Department to Stand Up for American Jobs Against Unfair Chinese Trade Practices

Brown and Grassley Lead Bipartisan Group of Eight Senators in Calling on Administration to Ensure Level Playing Field for Aluminum Extrusion Manufacturers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a bipartisan group of eight senators – led by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) – sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Commerce to stand up for American jobs in the aluminum extrusion industry that are threatened by unfair Chinese trade practices. The letter to Commerce Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance Paul Piquado, was signed by Brown and Grassley along with U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Thad Cochran (R-MS). It called on the Administration to ensure a level playing field for aluminum extrusion manufacturers.

“When countries like China dump their products in the U.S. market, it threatens American jobs and our workers’ ability to compete,” Brown said. “Ohio companies deserve a fair chance in the marketplace and the Commerce Department owes workers a full and fair investigation. That’s why I’m urging the Administration to address any harm caused to American businesses and workers.”

“Trade laws are meant to enforce fairness for all partners,” Grassley said.  “The Administration should use the most accurate data available to help ensure U.S. companies aren’t facing harm from unfair Chinese trade practices.”

The Commerce Department is currently conducting an administrative review of the antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders against Chinese imports of aluminum extrusions. These orders are critical to stopping the flood of unfairly-traded imports. While this review is underway, Brown and the senators are urging the Commerce Department to work with the domestic industry to ensure the scope of the AD and CVD orders provides adequate relief to American companies and prevents evasion of the orders.  Additionally, the letter urges the Commerce Department to reevaluate data used in the administrative review of the CVD order. The original determinations used pricing data from the London Metals Exchange (LME) that did not accurately reflect the full price of aluminum in the global market.

Full text of the letter is below and here.

December 17, 2014

The Honorable Paul Piquado

Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance

U.S. Department of Commerce

14th Street & Constitution Ave, NW

Washington, D.C. 20230

 

Dear Assistant Secretary Piquado:

We are writing to express our strong support for the domestic aluminum extrusions industry and the importance of maintaining strong antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders against Chinese imports.  The AD and CVD orders have been critical to stopping the flood of unfairly traded imports, but the Department of Commerce’s recent decisions narrowing the scope of the orders and its use of skewed data in the current CVD administrative review could undermine the effectiveness of the orders. 

The AD and CVD orders against Chinese aluminum extrusions have stopped the flood of unfairly traded imports that brought the domestic sector to the brink of collapse in 2010.  By 2009, Chinese extrusions accounted for 19 percent of the U.S. market, but as a result of the orders, that market share dropped to less than one percent in 2013.  Without the duties on Chinese imports, the U.S. sector would face more mill closures and job losses. 

We understand that the scope of the orders has been challenging for the Department of Commerce to implement, but we ask that you work with the aluminum extrusions industry to develop a scope that is workable for American suppliers and the Department.  Specifically, we urge you to focus on the way you define “final finished products.”  The Department should not allow Chinese producers to evade the AD and CVD orders by adding an inconsequential component to a covered extruded aluminum product. 

In addition, we are concerned that the Department of Commerce used inaccurate data from the London Metals Exchange (LME) in their preliminary determination in the current administrative review of the CVD order.   Any LME pricing data must include the additional regional premiums consumers are required to pay to obtain the primary aluminum.  Without including the additional warehouse extraction fees, the LME data will not accurately reflect the price a purchaser would pay for the aluminum in the global market and will distort the outcome of the administrative review. 

We ask you to work with the domestic industry on both the scope and the LME data issues to ensure the domestic industry can compete on a level playing field. 

Sincerely,

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Press Contact

Meghan Dubyak/Lauren Kulik (Brown) 202-224-3978

Jill Gerber (Grassley) 202-224-6522