The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) countered claims by the Aluminum Association (AA) that an investigation into 14 countries regarding illegal and unfair dumping practices will harm trade relations between Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

In an email, Matt Meenan, AA’s vice president of external affairs, said the incident was a “misunderstanding.” The situation has since been clarified, Meenan told [DWM] sister publication USGlass.

Following a petition filed in October 2023 by AEC and United Steelworkers (USW), the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) voted to continue investigations for illegal and unfair dumping practices, determining that “there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of aluminum extrusions.”

A statement released by AA, alongside the Instituto Mexicano del Aluminio and the Aluminium Association of Canada, said the trade case will damage the relationship between the countries, calling for tariff-free trade in North America, along with increased regional monitoring and strengthened regional trade enforcement.

“We believe that industries have every right to avail themselves to U.S. [antidumping and countervailing] laws as the AA has done successfully on multiple occasions,” Meenan later told USGlass. “The joint letter with our counterparts at the aluminum associations in Mexico and Canada acknowledged, however, that the case could overshadow continued cooperation within the region under the USMCA,” he said.

Officials for USITC argued that by using highly dumped and subsidized prices, foreign producers of aluminum extrusions have gained a “significant and increasing share of the U.S. market at the direct expense of the U.S. industry.”

This includes imports from China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

The North American aluminum associations argued the “filing of a [14]-country trade case, which includes Mexico, by a subsection of U.S. aluminum extrusion producers threatens to overshadow the longstanding coordination and partnership between the aluminum industries in the three countries,” including Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

In a letter penned by AEC’s chairperson Brook Hamilton to AA president Chuck Johnson, the Council said it found AA’s statements “disappointing,” arguing that the claims oppose its position on fair trade.

Hamilton went on to say:

“The AEC supports Fair Trade, which means everyone plays by the same, internationally established rules. Further, the AA is aware that U.S. producers of semi-fabricated products, including but not limited to extrusions, continue to face an onslaught of unfairly traded and subsidized imports from a host of countries, including Mexico.

“While the AA recognizes the legitimacy of concerns regarding Mexican aluminum trade (stating, for example, that Mexico has not abided by its agreement with regard to aluminum import monitoring) and the need for strengthened U.S. trade enforcement, it appears to unjustifiably believe that such trade remedy protections should not be extended to U.S. aluminum extruders. 

“These claims are both myopic and tone-deaf. Contrary to the AA’s claims, the U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) does not insulate U.S. producers and their workers from unfair trade practices. In fact, Mexico has allowed other countries like China and Russia to weaponize USMCA by allowing Mexican extruders to process unfairly traded metal to gain market share in the U.S.”

In an email to USGlass, Meenan clarified that AA isn’t opposed to AEC’s case and remains a neutral party. The dispute was simply a “misunderstanding,” he said.

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