WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that, at their urging, the Commerce Department has ruled that U.S. aluminum extrusions producers are being harmed by unfair trade practices by foreign competitors. Last month, Brown and Portman wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in support of the Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade committee in support of their case, urging them to rule against Chinese producers’ use of a new grade of aluminum extrusions to circumvent duties.
“Ohio aluminum workers can compete with anyone – but they need a level playing field,” said Brown. “We’ve got to hold cheaters accountable. This ruling will help crack down on China’s trade abuses and support American workers.”
“I applaud Commerce’s decision to fight back against Chinese efforts to avoid our trade laws and protect American jobs,” said Portman. “Ohio aluminum producers can compete and win against anyone if they get a fair shake, and I will continue to work to ensure they are protected against those who refuse to play by the rules.”
Brown and Portman have worked to give domestic industries the ability to fight unfair trade practices. In June 2015, the Leveling the Playing Field Act, introduced by Brown and cosponsored by Portman, was signed into law, ushering in the most significant changes to trade remedy law since 2002.
Here is text of Brown and Portman’s letter to Ross in June.
June 23, 2017
The Honorable Wilbur Ross
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20230
Dear Secretary Ross:
We write regarding the anti-circumvention petition filed by the Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade committee and urge you to ensure the Commerce Department’s final determination in the case provides maximum relief to U.S. producers who are being harmed by foreign producers’ unfair trade practices and unlawful attempts to evade duties.
For years, the U.S. aluminum extrusions industry has fought against Chinese producers’ unfair trade practices. Antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties have been in place since 2011 and have provided the domestic industry with some relief, but Chinese producers have continued to harm U.S. extruders by circumventing these orders. As a result, in October 2015, the Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee filed an anti-circumvention inquiry that asked Commerce to take action against Chinese producers’ use of newly developed 5050-grade aluminum extrusions.
Chinese producers have begun using the new 5050 alloy, typically used only in aluminum sheet and rolls, for aluminum extrusions. Using the 5050 alloy was unheard of before the AD/CVD orders were put in place because without additional treatment the alloy cannot be used in extrusion applications. As a result, extrusions made with the 5050 alloy are not covered by the AD/CVD orders. Chinese producers are altering the mechanical properties of the 5050 alloy so that it can be used for extrusions but still evade the AD/CVD duties. We were pleased that Commerce agreed with domestic producers in its preliminary determination that the Chinese producers developed the new 5050-grade extrusion to circumvent the orders.
The U.S. aluminum extrusions industry is composed of more than 100 individual producers that employ over 30,000 workers throughout the United States, and they cannot compete against producers who use these unfair trade practices. We urge Commerce to quickly issue a final decision in line with the preliminary determination to ensure the Chinese producers’ evasion tactics are stopped and the AD/CVD duties continue to provide the necessary relief to the domestic aluminum extrusions industry.