Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

USW: Commerce Department decision on China currency disappointing

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The United Steelworkers (USW) says that it’s pleased by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s announcement of an affirmative, preliminary determination in the countervailing duty investigation of aluminum extrusions from China, but extremely disappointed that China’s undervalued currency was found not to be subject to tariffs.

This decision applies to both the soft aluminum extrusion investigation and the coated paper investigation against China, the USW said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“We deeply regret that the Commerce Department failed to use the anti-subsidy law as it was intended to utilize the anti-subsidy law, as was intended, to protect American workers and companies,” USW International president Leo Gerard said. “The decision flies in the face of the consensus that China is, in fact, undervaluing its currency by as much as 40 percent and ignores the thorough economic and legal analysis that was provided several months ago by the USW and the companies.”

The USW has 2,000 members working in aluminum extrusions and 10,000 in coated free sheet paper.

The Commerce Department’s decision means that foreign exporters of aluminum products used in window and door frames will face tariffs between 6.18 and 138 percent due to their receipt of unfair government subsidies, the USW said. “Imports of the Chinese products were valued at $514 million in 2009. The decision was the second in a four-stage process that U.S. manufacturers and workers must win before duties may be imposed and a competitive market is restored.”

“This is further evidence of how China’s illegal subsidization of exports is damaging U.S. manufacturing,” USW International Vice president Tom Conway said. “Left unchecked, there will never be a level playing field for making products such as aluminum extrusions.”

The Commerce Department initiated the investigation in April 2010 based on a petition filed by the U.S. Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee, a coalition of domestic manufacturers of aluminum extrusions, and the USW. The committee and its supporters account for approximately 80 percent of production in the U.S. aluminum extrusions industry.

“Instead of standing up for the interests of American workers and manufacturers, the Commerce Department has turned a blind eye,” Gerard said. “The time has now come for Congress to take strong action by providing the tools necessary to hold China accountable for its deliberate currency undervaluation and to level the playing field to keep our jobs here in the United States, such as passing the Ryan-Murphy bill, H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act.”

Among USW-represented employers in the aluminum trade case with laid-off workers are Bonnell Company with plants in Kentland, Ind., and Newnan, Ga.




Posted 9/1/2010




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