Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary determination on Chinese aluminum foil — one that could have a major impact on Chinese aluminum foil producers.
On Aug. 8, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that Chinese aluminum foil has benefited unfairly from government subsidies ranging from 16.56 to 80.97%.
“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,” Ross said in a release. “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.”
Well, China’s Ministry of Commerce had a response of its own last week.
Wang Hejun, director of the Ministry of Commerce’s Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau, questioned the ruling, citing the Chinese government’s cooperation, according to a release on the Ministry of Commerce’s website.
The release also states Hejun said China urges the U.S. to act “prudently” to avoid negative impacts bad influence on the economic and trade relationship between the U.S. and China.
According to Reuters, the Ministry of Commerce posted a statement on its Wechat account, in which Hejun said the United States rebuffed the Chinese government’s offers to cooperate with the investigation before making its ruling.
The Department of Commerce’s Aug. 8 ruling was only a preliminary determination. However, at the conclusion of the countervailing duty investigation, duties of approximately 81% could be slapped onto Chinese foil imports.
According to the Department of Commerce release, barring any delays it is expected to announce its final determination on Oct. 24.
In 2016, imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at an estimated $389 million, according to the Department of Commerce.
The aluminum foil countervailing duty investigation is one of 64 initiated from Jan. 20 to Aug. 8 — a 40% increase from the same time period last year, according to the Department of Commerce.
In other aluminum investigations, the Department of Commerce’s Section 232 investigation of aluminum imports is still pending. The investigation was launched April 17 (along with a 232 investigation of steel imports). Although those investigations do not specifically target China, much of the discussion from the administration and those within the domestic steel and aluminum industries has focused on China and excess capacity. Other nations, however, including the European Union bloc, have expressed concern about the impact of Section 232 actions and their effects.
According to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, Ross has 270 days to present the president with a report outlining recommendations, which makes for January deadlines for the aluminum and steel cases.