Aluminum Association Urges Trump Administration to Address Chinese Overcapacity

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The Aluminum Association this week sent a letter to the Trump administration urging it to address Chinese overcapacity, as U.S. and Chinese officials are set to resume talks Wednesday and Thursday aimed at allaying trade tensions.

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The trade group sent the letter to Treasury Department Under Secretary David Malpass, who will lead the U.S. delegation in this week’s talks, which will be attended by Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen.

“With the market demand picture bright, and growth in the U.S. aluminum industry occurring, now is an excellent time to resolve trade issues between the United States and China,” wrote Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association, in the letter. “We note with interest your upcoming meeting with Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen and other representatives from China. This is an important moment in U.S.-China relations, and we respectfully request that the issue of China’s structural overcapacity across the aluminum value chain be included on the U.S. agenda.”

Throughout the year leading up to the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum, the Aluminum Association advocated for a trade remedy with a singular focus on China.

“At the same time, the association’s member companies have a shared belief that China’s trade distorting behavior drives massive structural overcapacity in both primary aluminum production and downstream products,” Brock continued. “This is a foundational problem confronting the industry not only in the United States but also around the world. For this reason, the Association has supported trade remedies that focus on China and leave market economies harmless.”

Despite winter cuts, China’s production has continued to rise. According to a Reuters report, July primary aluminum production was up 12% year over year. At 2.93 million tons, its July production was tied for the country’s monthly record.

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According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, Chinese primary aluminum production for the January-July period was up 3.0% compared with the same period in 2017.

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