The U.S. Department of Commerce, on November 28, 2017, self-initiated antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations on common alloy aluminum sheet from China. Self-initiated investigations are rare; the Department had not self-initiated AD and CVD investigations since 1991, and before that, 1985. Those investigations concerned softwood lumber from Canada and semiconductors from Japan, respectively. These investigations follow a recent International Trade Commission 332 investigation concerning competitiveness in the U.S. aluminum industry, and a pending Department of Commerce Section 232 investigation to determine the impact of imports of aluminum on national security. It is possible that the Trump administration is self-initiating this investigation as an alternative to imposing broad new duties under Section 232.
The U.S. AD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports that are sold in the United States at less than “normal value.” The U.S. CVD law imposes special tariffs to counteract imports that are sold in the United States with the benefit of foreign government subsidies. For AD/CVD duties to be imposed, the U.S. government must determine not only that dumping and/or subsidies are occurring, but also that there is “material injury” (or threat thereof) by reason of the dumped and/or subsidized imports. Importers are liable for any AD/CVD duties imposed. In addition, these investigations could impact purchasers by increasing prices and/or decreasing supply of common alloy aluminum sheet.
The product covered in the investigation is common alloy aluminum sheet, which is a flat-rolled aluminum product having a thickness of 6.3 mm or less, but greater than 0.2 mm, in coils or cut-to-length, regardless of width. Common alloy sheet within the scope of these investigations includes both not clad aluminum sheet, as well as multi-alloy, clad aluminum sheet. With respect to not clad aluminum sheet, common alloy sheet is manufactured from a 1XXX-, 3XXX-, or 5XXX-series alloy as designated by the Aluminum Association. With respect to multi-alloy, clad aluminum sheet, common alloy sheet is produced from a 3XXX-series core, to which cladding layers are applied to either one or both sides of the core.
Aluminum can stock, having a gauge ranging from 0.200 mm to 0.292 mm and an H-19, H-41, H-48, or H-391 temper, is excluded from the scope of this investigation.
Common alloy aluminum sheet is classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings 7606.11.3060, 7606.11.6000, 7606.12.3090, 7606.12.6000, 7606.91.3090, 7606.91.6080, 7606.92.3090, and 7606.92.6080. Subject merchandise may also be classified under subheadings 7606.11.3030, 7606.12.3030, 7606.91.3060, 7606.91.6040, 7606.92.3060, 7606.92.6040, and 7607.11.9090. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and Customs purposes, the written description of the scope is dispositive.
Alleged Dumping Margins
The Department of Commerce stated that there is reason to believe that the following dumping margins exist:
- China: 56.54 percent to 59.72 percent
No specific subsidy rates were alleged.
Estimated Schedule of Investigations
- November 28, 2017 – DOC initiates investigation
- To be determined – ITC staff conference
- January 12, 2018 – Deadline for ITC preliminary injury determination
- February 1, 2018 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if deadline is not postponed
- April 9, 2018 – Deadline for DOC preliminary CVD determination, if deadline is fully postponed
- April 17, 2018 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if deadline is not postponed
- April 17, 2018 – Deadline for DOC final CVD determination, if deadline is not postponed
- June 6, 2018 – Deadline for DOC preliminary AD determination, if deadline is fully postponed
- July 2, 2018 – Deadline for DOC final AD determination, if deadline is not postponed
- October 19, 2018 – Deadline for DOC final AD and CVD determinations, if both preliminary and final AD and CVD deadlines are fully postponed
- December 3, 2018 – Deadline for ITC final injury determination, assuming fully postponed DOC deadlines