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
“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.