Sheet aluminum prices could rise sharply

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Many pontoon boats, which have been a popular segment of the marine industry, are built of aluminum.

Many pontoon boats, which have been a popular segment of the marine industry, are built of aluminum.

Sheet aluminum could be facing a more than 50 percent price increase because of a move the U.S. Department of Commerce made last month.

The increase would affect both builders of aluminum boats and components, National Marine Manufacturers Association spokeswoman Ellen Hopkins told Trade Only Today.

The NMMA is urging members that use sheet aluminum to contact the group immediately because it is projected that import duties on Chinese aluminum sheet will increase at least 56.5 percent.

The actual duties could be much higher when the countervailing duties (anti-subsidy) are included, the NMMA said in its Currents newsletter.

Even those that procure aluminum from other places could be looking at dramatic cost increases, the group said.

National sales of outboard-powered aluminum boats have risen steadily between 2012 and 2016, with 18-footers leading the way — a segment known for being more value-oriented than the fiberglass market. In 2012, 87,705 were sold; in 2016, 111,843 were sold.

“As you may or may not be aware, on Nov. 28 the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the initiation of an antidumping and countervailing duty case on Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from China,” the NMMA said.

China is the largest source of foreign imports of this product.

“The purpose of the case is not only to raise the cost of Chinese aluminum sheet, but also to raise the prices of aluminum sheet in the domestic market as a whole,” the NMMA said.

The case covers imports of aluminum sheet from China in the 3XXX-, 4XXX- and 5XXX-series alloy. 5XXX-series aluminum is magnesium-alloy-based and is often used in marine applications because of its corrosion resistance.

The NMMA will participate in a hearing next Thursday where witnesses from the domestic industry can testify about the harm they are experiencing.

The hearing also is a chance for the U.S. importers and end users of the merchandise to testify about why imports are not harming domestic production, the NMMA said.

“This is moving very quickly,” the NMMA said. “NMMA is forming a committee of affected members who want to be informed and involved. If you use sheet aluminum and believe you may be affected by this case, we urge you to contact us right away.”

The post asks members to contact NMMA president Thom Dammrich directly.

The Commerce announcement says the U.S. International Trade Commission will make its preliminary injury determinations within 45 days after the date on which the ITC receives notice from the Department of Commerce that investigations have been self-initiated.