On Friday, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced affirmative preliminary determinations in a sweeping investigation of imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from 18 countries being sold at less than fair value in the United States. This follows recent preliminary affirmative countervailing duty determinations for imports of the subject goods from Bahrain, Brazil, India, and Turkey.
As a result, the agency will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to require the nearly four hundred U.S. importers of common alloy aluminum sheet from Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey to deposit estimated antidumping duties at the time of importation.
“The Department’s aluminum sheet investigations constitute the broadest U.S. trade enforcement action in two decades,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
The trade group representing U.S. aluminum producers applauded the decision, saying it confirmed their complaint “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.”
The U.S. International Trade Commission in late 2018 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. The resulting trade enforcement actions incentivized 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 U.S.
U.S. producers petitioned for the imposition of antidumping duties last March, complaining that aluminum sheet from various countries was being dumped in the U.S. at margins ranging from 15.9% to 151%, causing material injury to the domestic industry. The Aluminum Association and its members also filed countervailing duty petitions alleging that producers in Bahrain, Brazil, India, and Turkey benefit from numerous government subsidy programs.
Scope of Coverage
Common alloy aluminum sheet is a flat-rolled aluminum product that is used in a variety of applications, including transportation, building and construction, infrastructure, electrical, and marine applications. Typical uses for the product under investigation include gutters and downspouts, building facades, street signs and license plates, electrical boxes, pontoon boats, and tractor-trailers for trucks.
The antidumping duty investigation covers aluminum sheet imports categorized under 12 different Harmonized Tariff Schedule code subheadings. Combined U.S. imports from the 18 countries listed under the relevant HTS codes totaled 665,485 mt in 2019, climbing from 492,975 mt in 2018 and 310,409 mt in 2017, according to data compiled by the ITC. In 2019, U.S. imports of common alloy aluminum sheet were valued at roughly $2 billion.
Preliminary duty deposit rates range from 2.72% on products from Greece to 136.9% on some products from Brazil.
Commerce is scheduled to announce its final determinations in these cases on or about February 22, 2021. Should Commerce’s final determinations also be affirmative, the ITC will be scheduled to make its final injury determination sometime during the first week of April 2021.
Need More Information?
Should you have any questions about this affirmative preliminary determination and how it may affect your imports, don’t hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable trade experts to discuss the matter in more detail.