NewsAnalysis: ALUMINUM  
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-  
I
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  
2
009. Demand in the building and construction sector has  
grown nearly 21.2 percent.  
2
sociation’s (AA) most recent annual  
market review.  
*Source: Aluminum Association  
Imports of aluminum and alumi-  
num products increased 9.8 percent  
from 2014 to their highest level since  
2
005. Total U.S. imports, including  
semi-fabricated products, increased  
percent. However, primary produc-  
4
tion decreased 2.2 percent over the  
same span.  
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-  
mestic companies.  
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.  
26  
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that if Trump’s actions match his rhet-  
oric, then we may have a really strong  
administration when it comes to trade  
enforcement,” says Henderson. “Trade  
enforcement is the thing that keeps us  
busy. There isn’t a week that goes by  
when I don’t receive a report, email or  
pictures about some kind of transship-  
ment circumvention.”  
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“Something can be done about the  
bureaucracy,” he adds, pointing to  
an ongoing case in which a coalition  
of West Coast curtainwall produc-  
ers, called the Curtain Wall Coalition  
CWC),asserts that certain curtainwall  
parts imported from China fall under  
the scope of a tariff.  
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“At least four times, the courts ruled  
retail storefronts, office  
buildings, campuses and  
healthcare facilities.  
in our favor,”says Henderson,who is in-  
volved in the case.“Then a judge from  
a lower court pops out with a dissent-  
ing view and turns it all on its head. It  
doesn’t make sense that we fight the  
same battle over and over again.”  
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Chinese curtainwall contracting  
companies Yuanda and Jangho are on  
the other side of the conflict and have  
expressed their willingness to continue  
to fight as long as they deem necessary.  
Furthermore,John D’Amario,North-  
west sales manager at Yuanda USA  
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Corp.,says Chinese aluminum sourcing num that is now coming in from coun-  
“With respect to this new adminis-  
is no longer a threat to the curtainwall tries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, tration’s dealings with China, I would  
contracting industry in North America, Mexico, Colombia, Turkey, etc. China say it will be more likely to‘make a deal’  
and that the founding CWC companies should be the least of their worries, rather than follow the standard govern-  
are “busy again” and have “passed the and anybody who sends funding to ment protocol mandate,” says D’Ama-  
baton to the [AEC].”  
Since they need a constant influx of examined. They’re funding a war that this President-elect won by running  
funding to pay their lawyers, they have can’t be won in this new age of global his campaign on a gamble of voters’  
been reaching out to the industry for economy.”  
gullibility. The real platform is yet to  
donations while reminding everyone of  
Regarding the incoming Trump ad- be realized, and I think it will be very  
their cause should have their heads rio. “For it already seems evident that  
the ‘serious threat’ from China,” D’Am- ministration,D’Amario isn’t concerned supportive regarding the importing of  
ario says of the AEC. “This is pretty about a negative impact on Chinese Asia-produced aluminum.”  
ridiculous, considering all the alumi- imports of aluminum.  
—Nick St. Denis s  
www.usglassmag.com  
January 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
27  

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