The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) countered claims by the Aluminum Association (AA) that a 14-country lawsuit regarding illegal and unfair dumping practices of aluminum extrusions will harm Canada, Mexico and U.S. trade relations.
AA’s statement, alongside the Instituto Mexicano del Aluminio and the Aluminium Association of Canada, says the trade case will damage the relationship between the countries. It also calls for tariff-free trade in North America, increased regional monitoring and strengthened regional trade enforcement.
This comes as the U.S. International Trade Commission recently approved investigations filed by AEC and United Steelworkers. The investigations argue that by using highly dumped and subsidized prices, foreign producers of aluminum extrusions have gained a “significant and increasing share of the U.S. market at the direct expense of the U.S. industry.”
This includes imports from China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
The North American aluminum associations argue the “filing of a -country trade case, which includes Mexico, by a subsection of U.S. aluminum extrusion producers threatens to overshadow the longstanding coordination and partnership between the aluminum industries in the three countries.”
In a letter penned by AEC’s chairperson Brook Hamilton to AA president Chuck Johnson, the Council states it finds AA’s statements “disappointing” and argues the claims oppose its position on fair trade.
Hamilton goes on to say:
“The AEC supports Fair Trade, which means everyone plays by the same, internationally established rules. Further, the AA is aware that U.S. producers of semi-fabricated products, including but not limited to extrusions, continue to face an onslaught of unfairly traded and subsidized imports from a host of countries, including Mexico.
“While the AA recognizes the legitimacy of concerns regarding Mexican aluminum trade (stating, for example, that Mexico has not abided by its agreement with regard to aluminum import monitoring) and the need for strengthened U.S. trade enforcement, it appears to unjustifiably believe that such trade remedy protections should not be extended to U.S. aluminum extruders.
“These claims are both myopic and tone-deaf. Contrary to the AA’s claims, the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) does not insulate U.S. producers and their workers from unfair trade practices. In fact, Mexico has allowed other countries like China and Russia to weaponize USMCA by allowing Mexican extruders to process unfairly traded metal to gain market share in the U.S.”
In an email, Matt Meenan, AA’s vice president of external affairs, says the incident was a misunderstanding that has since been clarified. He writes AA is not opposed to AEC’s case and remains a neutral party.
“We believe that industries have every right to avail themselves to U.S. AD/CVD laws as the AA has done successfully on multiple occasions,” he writes. “The joint letter with our counterparts at the aluminum associations in Mexico and Canada acknowledged, however, that the case could overshadow continued cooperation within the region under the USMCA.”