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Import Restrictions on Aluminum Could Find Support in ITC Report


(Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report)

A new International Trade Commission report finds that the U.S. primary unwrought aluminum segment shrank significantly from 2011 to 2015 but the secondary unwrought and wrought product segments expanded. The report could be a factor in the Trump administration’s pending determination on whether to impose import restrictions on aluminum.

The Department of Commerce is conducting a section 232 investigation into whether imports of foreign-made aluminum are harming U.S. national security. If the DOC’s determination is affirmative, and the president concurs, the president will have the authority to adjust imports, including through the use of tariffs and quotas. Trump had pushed for the DOC to conclude its investigation by the end of June (two months after initiation, in contrast to the nine months allowed by law), but it remains unclear when a final decision may be announced.

The ITC report includes findings that could be cited as support for a potential affirmative DOC determination and subsequent decision to restrict imports. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of major aluminum producing and exporting countries, provides qualitative and quantitative assessments of the impact of foreign government policies, identifies countries where primary unwrought aluminum capacity has substantially increased, and includes information on trade flows of aluminum through third countries. Click here to read more.

Related: Aluminum – Competitive Conditions Affecting the U.S. Industry (USITC)