October 5, 2016

Wauconda, Illinois - The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) made the industry’s voice heard on Thursday, September 29, 2016 during Aluminum Week held in Washington, DC with the Aluminum Association. AEC members called on the government to act on lingering circumvention and duty evasion issues related to certain Chinese aluminum extrusion imports and China’s overcapacity in primary aluminum production. Members of the Council met with staff members of their elected officials and testified at the U.S. International Trade Commission hearing on “Aluminum: Competitive Conditions Affecting the U.S. Industry”.

AEC members met with the staff members of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (D-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Bob Casey (D-PA) to discuss key issues affecting the aluminum extrusion industry and to ask for help. One issue was a circumvention and evasion problem with the Zhongwang Group. As outlined in a recent Wall Street Journal article (Patterson, Miller, Yap; September 8, 2016), Zhongwang has been taking incredible efforts to evade the U.S. trade laws by shipping products into the U.S. and Mexico. The Zhongwang Group is comprised of a vast network of affiliates involved in the production, transportation, and storage of aluminum extrusions and rolled products. Mr. Zhongtian Liu uses the Group to shuttle aluminum products across borders, circumventing not just U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty orders on extruded aluminum, but also Chinese duties on exports of primary aluminum products. Their plan brings “pallets” (which are just semi-welded extrusion products) into the U.S., re-melts them and then sells them as U.S. domestic extrusion products. “Commerce is close to deciding two important issues, one dealing with the pallets (scope) and another dealing with how Zhongwang is circumventing the extrusion cases by manipulating the metal to avoid duties,” said AEC President Jeff Henderson. Senate staffers were asked to help AEC by requesting a decision from Commerce on the issue, which has been languishing for a year.

Aluminum issues at the macro level were also discussed. Specifically, AEC members asked that the Senators contact the U.S. Trade Representative’s office urging them to take Century Aluminum’s World Trade Organization (WTO) case which is related to China’s overcapacity in primary aluminum production and how that affects the global aluminum market. “While lower primary aluminum prices seem like a good thing, it’s not,” said Henderson. “China will eventually drive out domestic and other sources, and then our domestic premiums will increase making us less competitive to our foreign competitors. Eventually our orders go and then so do we as a domestic industry. Is that really wise, especially since aluminum extrusions are used in a wealth of building and construction, automotive, aerospace and defense applications here in the U.S.?”

Meanwhile, other AEC members testified at the ITC 332 hearing, which had been requested by the Aluminum Association. The Commission is tasked with studying the impacts of the Government of China’s policies in the aluminum industry and its impacts on the U.S. AEC President Jeff Henderson, along with Susan Johnson President of Futura Industries Corp. in Clearfield, UT; Jason Weber, Dir. Business Development - Emerging Markets of Sapa Extrusion North America in Rosemont, IL; and Brook Hamilton, President and General Manager of Bonnell Aluminum in Newnan, GA testified on China’s over-production of extrusions, circumvention and transshipment charges, pricing issues, and a myriad of other concerns.

“All-in-all it was a very good day for the Aluminum Extruders Council and we hope to keep the pressure on our government with these important issues. The aluminum extrusion industry is not against competition as long as it’s fair,” said Henderson.

The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), established in 1950, is an international association dedicated to advancing the effective use of aluminum extrusion in North America. AEC is committed to bringing comprehensive information about extrusion's characteristics, applications, environmental benefits, design and technology to users, product designers, engineers and the academic community. Further, AEC is focused on enhancing the ability of its members to meet the emerging demands of the market through sharing knowledge and best practices. Advocacy programs ensure that aluminum extruders, suppliers and their products remain relevant and viable in an ever-changing legislative and regulatory climate. More than 120 member companies represent primary aluminum producers and other industry suppliers in addition to aluminum extruders operating hundreds of extrusion presses in hundreds of plants worldwide. For more information, visit the website at www.aec.org; contact AEC at mail@aec.org.