WASHINGTON: The Trump administration has slapped anti-dumping duties on aluminium foil imports from China after preliminarily finding that they were subsidised.
Countervailing duties ranging from 16.56 to 80.97 per cent have been imposed by the US Commerce Department.
As such the Commerce Department will instruct US Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of aluminium foil from China based on these preliminary rates.
"The United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade and will continue to validate the information provided to us that brought us to this decision," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
In 2016, imports of aluminium foil from China were valued at an estimated USD 389 million.
"The Trump administration will not stand idly by as harmful trade practices from foreign nations attempt to take advantage of our essential industries, workers and businesses," Ross said.
According to the Commerce Department, this countervailing duty case against aluminium foil from China is independent of the Aluminium 232 investigation, launched on April 27 to consider whether aluminium overcapacity, dumping, illegal subsidies and other factors threaten American economic security and military preparedness. The Aluminium Association applauded the decision.
"This is an important step to begin restoring a level playing field for US aluminium foil production, an industry that supports more than 20,000 direct, indirect and induced American jobs, and accounts for USD 6.8 billion in economic activity," said Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminium Association.
US aluminium foil producers are among the most competitive producers in the world, but they cannot compete against products that are subsidised by the Chinese government and sold at unfairly low prices, Brock said.
The Commerce Department's determination follows the filing on March 9 of anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions by the Aluminium Association's Trade Enforcement Working Group, marking the first time the aluminium association has filed unfair trade cases on behalf of its members in its nearly 85-year history.
As a result of allegations in the petition, the Commerce Department is investigating 26 different subsidy programs maintained by the Government of China.
The next step in this trade action will be the Commerce Department's issuance of its preliminary anti-dumping duty determination, which is scheduled to be announced on October 5, 2017.
Imports of aluminium foil from China increased by nearly 40 per cent between 2014 and 2016.
China was the largest supplier of aluminium foil to the US market in 2016, accounting for more than 70 per cent of all imports.
The US aluminium foil industry supports more than 20,000 direct, indirect and induced American jobs and USD 6.8 billion in economic activity.
The aluminium foil subject to the investigations is used in a variety of consumer and industrial applications, with specific uses that include: household foil, flexible and semi-rigid cookware, product packaging, automotive and HVAC heat exchangers, among other common uses.