Aluminum Association Still Pressing for Regulation of Chinese Semis

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The head of the Aluminum Association, a US-based trade association made up of North American producers, will meet face-to-face with her Chinese counterparts next week for the first time since the group asked the US International Trade Commission and US Trade Representative to probe mislabeling of China’s exports, as a trade dispute between the nations escalates.

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Heidi Brock, the US industry body’s president, will meet with representatives of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association at their invitation at an event next week in Qingdao, China, she told reporters at the association’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Semi-Fabricated?

China’s export of so-called “fake semis” has grown dramatically in recent years, angering producers elsewhere who argue that the metal is exported as semi-fabricated to avoid an export tax on primary aluminum, but is intended to be re-melted into primary by the consumer. Brock said imports of semi-finished products have grown 115% between 2012 and 2014.

Imports of Chinese semi-finished aluminum

Imports of Chinese semi-finished aluminum products.

“The Chinese market is a very serious issue and we plan to deal with it with partner associations,” Brock told reporters from the conference. “Imports have increased 63% this year alone. (Chinese producers’) product is the most carbon-intensive in the entire world. Energy subsidies and, potentially, illegal activity are perpetuating the existence and expansion of the high-carbon industry there.”

Climate Implications

Brock also said she hopes the aluminum trade dispute is among the topics discussed between the US and Chinese governments at the United Nations Climate Change conference and US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade later this year.

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She did not give a timeline on when the ITC might respond to the association’s request for an investigation.

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