The co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Aluminum Caucus – Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Larry Bucshon (R-IN), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) – today sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross calling for the creation of an aluminum import monitoring system. The chairs were joined by two dozen Members of Congress from both parties.
“On behalf of the 162,000 Americans working in aluminum, we appreciate this bipartisan effort to shore up trade enforcement in our sector,” said Joe Quinn, Vice President of Public Affairs at the Aluminum Association. “An aluminum import monitoring system is a necessary step to ensure that all aluminum producers are operating on a level playing field in a fair, rules-based global trading system.”
“Expanding the Commerce Department’s current import monitoring program to capture the import of aluminum products will help government officials and the industry to better identify trends in trade flows and address aluminum misclassification, transshipment and evasion of duties,” the letter notes.
Earlier this year, Canada announced an expansion of its import monitoring system to include aluminum and aluminum products. The decision was consistent with a May 17 joint statement with the United States removing Section 232 tariffs and committing to increased monitoring to prevent metal transshipment.
“Establishing a U.S. aluminum import monitoring program in coordination with our North American trading partners would further bolster the robust, fair and rules-based trade of aluminum and aluminum products between our three countries,” the letter continues.
While trade enforcement tools like antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) investigations are critical for enforcing rules-based trade, they are insufficient to address all challenges in the marketplace. Recent successful AD/CVD cases have led to a sharp decline in unfairly traded Chinese imports of aluminum foil and common alloy aluminum sheet to the United States. However, despite these efforts, global exports of semi-fabricated aluminum products from China hit record levels in 2018 – and are growing further still in 2019, up 6 percent year-to-date.
The Aluminum Association has long advocated for the creation of an aluminum import monitoring program to ensure that no unfairly traded metal enters the United States. Similar systems in other industries enable the Department of Commerce to identify red flags in marketplace data that could suggest trade irregularities.