Steel Products Prices North America

Commerce Finds Widespread Dumping of Aluminum Sheet

Written by Tim Triplett

Prices of aluminum, steel’s rival material, may get a boost from a new Commerce Department ruling that accuses 18 countries of dumping common alloy aluminum sheet imports on the U.S. market.

In a preliminary determination announced on Friday, Commerce ruled that aluminum sheet from the following countries has been sold at less than fair value in the U.S.: Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. Importers will be required to deposit estimated antidumping duties ranging from single-digit percentages up to nearly 353 percent in the case of Germany and 137 percent in the case of Brazil at the time of importation.

“Today’s decisions underscore the Commerce Department’s commitment to combatting unfair trade,” said Tom Dobbins, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association. “The Commerce Department’s findings confirm that foreign producers relied on artificially low prices to rapidly increase their aluminum sheet exports to the United States, just as unfairly traded imports from China were beginning to withdraw from the market.”

In December 2018,  the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) reached a unanimous determination that U.S. producers were materially injured by unfairly-traded imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China, leading to duties on such imports. These unfair trade orders prompted Chinese producers to shift exports of common alloy sheet to other foreign markets, prompting producers in those countries to export their own production to the United States, the association maintains. Aluminum industry complaints of dumping, transshipment and circumvention by foreign producers mirror those of the steel industry.

Commerce is expected to issue its final AD/CVD determinations in mid-February 2021. If affirmative, the USITC will make its final injury determination by April 5, 2021. 

The Commerce ruling covers $1.96 billion dollars of aluminum sheet imports and “is the largest and most far-reaching case that our department has brought in more than 20 years,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross commented to Fox Business on Oct. 9.

The ruling gives the aluminum industry a lift just weeks before the election and draws attention once again to the Trump administration’s strategy to use trade penalties to protect domestic industries.

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