29. November 2017 | Industry

US Department of Commerce self-initiates antidumping investigations on imports of common alloy aluminium sheet from China

The US Department of Commerce yesterday announced the self-initiation of antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of common alloy aluminium sheet from China. “President Trump made it clear from day one that unfair trade practices will not be tolerated under this administration, and today we take one more step in fulfilling that promise,” said Secretary Wilbur Ross. “We are self-initiating the first trade case in over a quarter century, showing once again that we stand in constant vigilance in support of free, fair, and reciprocal trade.” In 2016, imports of common alloy sheet from China were valued at an estimated USD603.6 million.

Normally, AD and CVD investigations are initiated in response to petitions filed by a domestic industry alleging that dumped or unfairly subsidized goods are being exported into the US market. By contrast, self-initiation authority can be exercised whenever the Secretary determines, from information available, that a formal AD or CVD investigation is warranted.

The Department has self-initiated these investigations based on information indicating that the United States price of common alloy sheet from China may be less than the normal value of such or similar merchandise and that imports of common alloy sheet from China may be benefitting from countervailable subsidies. The Department also has evidence that imports of common alloy sheet from China may be materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, the domestic industry producing common alloy sheet in the US.

The merchandise subject to investigation is common alloy aluminium sheet, which is a flat-rolled aluminium product having a thickness of 6.3 mm or less, but greater than 0.2 mm, in coils or cut-to-length, regardless of width. Common alloy aluminium sheet is typically used in building and construction, transport, basic electrical applications, appliances, etc.

The AD and CVD investigations will proceed like any other trade remedy investigation. If the Commerce Department determines that common alloy sheet from China is being dumped into the US market, and/or receiving unfair government subsidies, and if the US International Trade Commission (ITC) determines that dumped and/or unfairly subsidized US imports of common alloy sheet from China are causing injury to the US industry, the Commerce Department will impose duties on those imports in the amount of dumping and/or unfair subsidization found to exist.

Enforcement of US trade law is a prime focus of the Trump administration. To date in 2017, the Commerce Department has initiated 77 AD and CVD investigations in response to petitions filed by the domestic industry.

During the Commerce Department investigations into whether common alloy sheet from China is being dumped and/or unfairly subsidized, the ITC will conduct its own investigations into whether the US industry and its workforce are being injured, or threatened with injury, by such imports. The ITC will make its preliminary determinations approximately on or before 16 January 2018. If the ITC preliminarily determines that there is injury or threat of injury then the Commerce Department investigations will continue, with a preliminary CVD determination scheduled for February 2018 and a preliminary AD determination scheduled for April 2018, unless these deadlines are extended.

If the Commerce Department preliminarily determines that dumping or unfair subsidization is occurring, then it will instruct US Customs and Border Protection to start collecting cash deposits from all US companies importing the subject aluminium sheet from China.

Final determinations by the Commerce Department in these cases are scheduled for April 2018 for the CVD investigation, and July 2018 for the AD investigation, but those dates may be extended. If either the Commerce Department finds that products are not being dumped or unfairly subsidized, or the ITC finds in its final determinations there is no harm to the US industry, then the investigations will be terminated and no duties will be applied.