Trade Cases

USW Suspends Section 201 Petition on Aluminum Imports

Written by Sandy Williams

The United Steelworkers have retracted their petition to bring Section 201 action on imports of primary unwrought aluminum. The USW filed the petition on April 18 but is suspending it due to lack of industry support. The April 22 statement from the USW follows:

“We have decided to suspend our petition seeking action to restore competitive prices in the U.S. and global primary unwrought aluminum markets,” said USW International President Leo W. 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.

“China’s overcapacity has swamped world markets. Capacity additions in many sectors are continuing, despite Chinese government statements to the contrary. Export-led growth strategies have not stopped. It is decimating American manufacturing and employment as well as industries and workers around the globe.

“The petition we filed was based on the tools available. 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.

“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.

“Workers in the United States and Canada have many common interests in this sector. U.S. and Canadian officials recognize the serious threats facing our industries and have been engaged in meaningful discussions at the most senior levels. We are hopeful that this engagement will provide the necessary resolution needed for a long-term solution.

“In just a few days, many U.S. senators and representatives have demonstrated strong support for the workers across this country who have lost their jobs or whose jobs are in jeopardy. This support will be needed in the days ahead to make sure that any international engagement will provide the needed relief from these ongoing, market-destroying Chinese policies.

“Senator Ron Wyden deserves special recognition for his efforts in this in the Senate as does Congressman Sandy Levin, a strong advocate for our members’ interests in the House.”

“I am proud to stand with the Steelworkers and Leo Gerard in the fight for strong trade enforcement,” said Senator Wyden. “This case was brought to address China’s overcapacity and market-distorting behavior that is destroying good-paying American jobs.

“Within a few days, by working together, we have sparked long-overdue discussions that we hope will lead to a coordinated effort to address this critical problem.”

“World markets are under attack by China’s trade practices,” said Gerard. “China’s leaders say they know they have to change, but actions speak louder than words. Hopefully, government officials can work together to foster fair and stable markets that support North American production and jobs. Workers in aluminum, steel and many other sectors are facing a crisis that needs resolution.”

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