Trump and Trade: How Imports of
Chinese Aluminum May be Affected
ncoming President Donald Trump
vowed on the campaign trail to get
tougher with China in regard to
trade. As he settles into the Oval Ofﬁce
this month, the U.S. aluminum indus-
try is keeping a collective eye on what
this might mean.
Demand for aluminum in the U.S.
grew for the sixth straight year in
015, according to the Aluminum As-
In High Demand
In 2015, the aluminum industry shipped more than 25.7
billion pounds of material for the ﬁrst time since before the
recession, with total demand up more than 37.4 percent since
009. Demand in the building and construction sector has
grown nearly 21.2 percent.
sociation’s (AA) most recent annual
*Source: Aluminum Association
Imports of aluminum and alumi-
num products increased 9.8 percent
from 2014 to their highest level since
005. Total U.S. imports, including
semi-fabricated products, increased
percent. However, primary produc-
tion decreased 2.2 percent over the
Growth in U.S. imports was due
largely to an increase of aluminum
originating from China, with ship-
ments up 30.7 percent over 2014 levels,
according to the association. Mean-
while, AA and Aluminum Extrud- resentatives from North America,South leged duty circumvention and other
ers Council (AEC) members claim America, Australia, New Zealand, the illegitimate trade practices. AEC exec-
Chinese producers are over-saturat- Gulf States and Israel formed the Inter- utive director Jeff Henderson says the
ing the global market and driving national Fair Trade Alliance (IFTA).
down prices to the detriment of do-
slow pace of trade enforcement has
“IFTA believes that a network of been a major problem in this and sim-
market-based aluminum extrusion ilar cases. AEC led the charge in peti-
AA president and CEO Heidy Brock companies and associations can work tioning for the investigation.
says the spike in metal imports is“a di- together to support, teach, and advo-
“One of our biggest issues we’ve had
rect consequence of persistent alumi- cate fair trade practices at a national since [the current aluminum trade]
num overcapacity in China.” She adds and international level,” says its chair- orders went into effect in 2011 is how
that industry members are committed person Jason Weber, director of inter- difﬁcult, time-consuming and slow the
to “pursuing a negotiated agreement national market intelligence for Sapa process is with all of our government
between the U.S. and Chinese govern- Extrusion North America.
ments on overcapacity” and to ensure
Domestically, the U.S. industry con- a clear transshipment case impacting
a fair and level playing ﬁeld across the tinues to ﬁght legal battles with Chi- Puerto Rico take four years to bring to
aluminum value chain for all alumi- nese producers.
justice. By then, as far as we know, the
num producers worldwide.”
China Zhongwang, the second-larg- extruder went out of business.”
The international aluminum indus- est aluminum producer in the world,
Henderson is hopeful the incoming
bodies,” he says.“For example, we saw
try has already taken a collective step in has been under investigation by the administration will be diligent in this
addressing the concern. Last year, rep- U.S. Department of Commerce for al- regard.
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | January 2017