Trump Stops China from Destroying U.S. Aluminium Industry

An employee looks at an aluminium foil roll being lifted at a plant in Binzhou, Shandong province, China.
An employee looks at an aluminium foil roll being lifted at a plant in Binzhou, Shandong province, China.

New York, NY – Finally, after almost a decade of China exploiting the weak leadership of former president Barack Obama, the U.S. is making a stand against China dumping underpriced aluminium foil on the U.S. market. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department said it had made a final determination that imports of aluminum foil from China are being sold in the United States at less than their fair value and producers are benefiting from subsidies from Beijing. The effect of that dumping has been millions of American jobs and the near decimation of our aluminium manufacturing capabilities.

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In a statement, the Commerce Department said that antidumping and countervailing duties would be levied on a number of Chinese firms, with dumping margins ranging from 48.64 percent to 106.09 percent and anti-subsidy rates of 17.14 percent to 80.97 percent. Quoting Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the statement said,

“This Administration is committed to trade that is fair and reciprocal, and we will not allow American workers and businesses to be harmed by unfair imports.”

China has expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the step and will take necessary measures to protect its legal rights and interests in the matter, the country’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said in a statement. Wang Hejun, the head of MOFCOM’s Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau, said in the statement,

“The U.S. has disregarded the WTO rules and seriously damaged the interests of China’s aluminum foil exporters.”

Wang added that the U.S. Commerce Department has made the wrong decision in levying high duties “without any evidence” and has “unreasonably and excessively” adopted trade remedy measures. In reality, thanks to the work of Ross and the Commerce Department, almost a decade of “hidden” subsidies have been paid out to Chinese aluminium producers. Some of China’s largest aluminium makers are linked to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party, making it harder to trace the evidence of the subsidies. The Chinese government needs to ensure that factory production and employment is kept high to ensure social order and maintain its grip on power. This has been facilitated with needless infrastructure projects as well as hidden subsidies to encourage industrial production.

The Chishi Bridge is one of the world's most expensive and underutilized bridges and carries the Xiamen–Chengdu Expressway over a deep valley. The bridge is just one of China's many expensive and unnecessary infrastructure projects that help keep its economy growing.
The Chishi Bridge is one of the world’s most expensive and underutilized bridges and carries the Xiamen–Chengdu Expressway over a deep valley. The bridge is just one of China’s many expensive and unnecessary infrastructure projects that help keep its economy growing.

The U.S. duties, which would take effect for five years, remain subject to a finding of injury to U.S. producers by the International Trade Commission (ITC), which is due to announce its decision by March 15.

Amid mounting trade friction with China, U.S. President Donald Trump is due to decide soon whether to impose much broader duties on steel and aluminum imports under a national security investigation.

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Three of President Trump’s top economic aides are expected meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, Liu He, this week, the White House said on Tuesday. China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday the aide would discuss “China-U.S. relations and the two countries’ economic and trade cooperation.”

The Commerce Department said the foil case, the first the U.S. aluminum industry has brought against China;s aluminum sector, would have no bearing on the “Section 232” report on aluminum that is under consideration by President Trump.

In 2016, imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at an estimated $389 million, Commerce Department figures show.

A Chinese worker inspecting a roll of aluminium foil at a Jiangsu Zhongji Lamination Materials Stock aluminium factory in Jiangsu province, China.
A Chinese worker inspecting a roll of aluminium foil at a Jiangsu Zhongji Lamination Materials Stock aluminium factory in Jiangsu province, China.

Last month, a group of U.S. aluminum foil producers told the ITC their industry had been devastated by Chinese imports and needed anti-dumping duties to survive and invest. The group’s president, Heidi Brock, said in the statement,

“The Aluminum Association and its foil-producing members are extremely pleased with the Commerce Department’s final determinations.”

“U.S. aluminum foil producers are among the most competitive producers in the world, but they cannot compete against products that are sold at unfairly low prices and subsidized by the Government of China.”

The Commerce Department said antidumping margins will be set at 48.64 percent for Jiangsu Zhongji Lamination Materials Stock Co Ltd, at 106.09 percent for Hangzhou Dingsheng Import & Export Co Ltd and related companies, 89.54 percent for 14 other companies and 106.09 percent for the rest of producers in China.

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Countervailing duty margins will be 17.14 percent for Jiangsu Zhongji, 19.98 percent for Dingsheng, 80.97 percent for Loften Aluminum (Hong Kong) Limited, Manakin Industries LLC and Suzhou Manakin Aluminum Processing Technology Co Ltd, and 18.56 percent for all other producers in China, it said.

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