WASHINGTON – US producers of aluminium foil said cheap imports from China have devastated the American industry, making it imperative for the US to impose duties on Chinese shipments.
Chinese companies have produced more primary aluminium in the last seven years than the US industry has manufactured in its 124-year history, said Heidi Brock, president of the The Aluminium Association. “The increased volumes of low-priced aluminium foil imports from China have devastated domestic producers,” Brock told the US International Trade Commission at a hearing Thursday in Washington.
The trade tribunal is preparing its final ruling on whether the US industry has been harmed by aluminium foil made in China and sold below fair market value. The Commerce Department imposed preliminary anti-dumping duties in October of as high of 162% on imports from China. If ITC rules in favour of US producers, which launched the complaint, the duties will become final.
A surge in cheap Chinese imports beginning in 2006 “decimated” prices for foil in the US, said Beatriz Landa, VP at Novelis, which makes aluminium products. As a result, the company closed a plant in Louisville, Kentucky, and stopped producing foil in the US for households in 2014, she said.
“We cannot continue to reduce prices on our product offerings and remain sustainable,” said Landa.
Chinese producers are expected to testify later Thursday.
The ITC case is separate from other investigations into aluminium products that are being led by the Trump administration. The Commerce Department in November initiated an anti-dumping and countervailing duty case into Chinese alloy aluminium sheets and President Donald Trump is considering whether to impose duties on imports of aluminium, along with steel, to protect national security, with a decision due before mid-April.