US initiates antidumping investigation on Chinese aluminum

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The U.S. government announced on Wednesday its decision to initiate an antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duty investigation on Chinese aluminum extrusions, a move that might escalate trade disputes between the two countries.

The U.S. Commerce Department said in a statement the petitioners for the investigation are the United Steel Union and the Aluminum Extrusions Fair Trade Committee.

The merchandise covered by the investigation is certain aluminum extrusions, which are shapes and forms produced via an extrusion process of aluminum alloys.

The major alloying elements in the subject merchandise are manganese, magnesium, and silicon.

The products are generally used in construction applications and are incorporated into window and door frames and sills, gutters, and solar power frames.

They serve as parts for cars, trucks and both structural and decorative elements on boats. They also serve as furniture parts and in a variety of other consumer and industrial goods.

From 2007 to 2009, imports of aluminum extrusions from China increased 90 percent by volume. And in 2009 imports of aluminum extrusions were valued at an estimated 514 million dollars, according to the U.S. government.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is scheduled to make its preliminary injury determination in May 2010.

If the ITC determines that there is a reasonable indication that imports from China are materially injuring, or threatening material injury to, the domestic industry, the investigation will continue, and Commerce will be scheduled to make its CVD preliminary determination in June 2010 and its AD preliminary determination in September 2010.

The onset of the global recession appears to have led to an increase in trade disputes around the world.

Globally, new requests for protection from imports in the first half of 2009 are up 18.5 percent over the first half of 2008, according to the World Bank-sponsored Global Anti-dumping Database organized by Chad P. Bown, a Brandeis University economics professor.

That increase follows a 44-percent increase in new investigations in 2008. And China has become one of the main targets of the rising protectionism.

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