ITC ruling allows probe on aluminum imports; NMMA holds webinar

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The proposed import duty could significantly increase the cost of sheet aluminum that is used to build pontoon boats.

The proposed import duty could significantly increase the cost of sheet aluminum that is used to build pontoon boats.

The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that allowing imports of aluminum sheet metal from China is harming U.S. aluminum manufacturers.

The ruling allows a U.S. probe that will determine whether aluminum alloy sheet is being dumped or unfairly subsidized, the NMMA said today in its Currents newsletter.

The concern is that the price of aluminum sheet, which is used by builders of pontoon and fishing boats, could increase significantly if a proposed import duty increase of more than 50 percent goes through.

“The ruling is expected to significantly drive up the costs of aluminum used to manufacture more than 111,000 boats, such as pontoons and fishing boats,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich told Reuters.

The NMMA held a webinar on the issue this morning and is making it available, with slides, for anyone who missed it.

Reuters reported that the ITC could impose anti-dumping duties ranging from 56.5 percent to 59.7 percent. The news service estimated that about $603.6 million of flat-rolled aluminum was imported from China in 2016.

Earlier last week, U.S. aluminum products makers sought protections against Chinese aluminum shipped through Vietnam, asking the Commerce Department to investigate allegations that China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. is circumventing U.S. duties, Reuters said.

On Dec. 15, Trade Only Today reported that sheet aluminum prices could face a 50 percent increase after the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a potential increase of at least 56.6 percent on import duties on Chinese aluminum sheet.

Trade Only reported on Jan. 2 that the NMMA was among the groups that testified against a proposal to impose a 60 percent import duty on Chinese aluminum.

“The decision was bad news for aluminum boat makers, a big part of a $3 billion recreational boating industry that claims to support 650,000 U.S. jobs,” the NMMA said.

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