Dec. 10, 2014
Trade Case Puts Brakes on Aluminum Extrusion Imports from China
Up to 20 percent of the U.S. aluminum extrusion market has returned to domestic mills, according to a study by Ducker Worldwide of the effects of a successful trade case against Chinese producers.
"It was clear through trade data analysis and interviews with extruders, customers and suppliers that the U.S. industry's trade case against Chinese extruders has dramatically reduced imported extrusions from China and returned demand to domestic suppliers. Chinese imports grew at their peak to over 20 percent of domestic demand in late 2009 and early 2010, but fell rapidly to less than 1 percent after the orders took effect in October 2010," says Nick Limb, managing principal of Ducker Worldwide.
"With the exception of a small number of niche extruders, a majority of domestic suppliers experienced 10-20 percent growth attributable to the return of customers that previously purchased from Chinese extruders," says Abey Abraham, project director at Ducker.
The Aluminum Extruders Council has led the U.S. aluminum extrusion industry's effort to gain tariff protection that offsets unfair trade practices of extruders/importers of aluminum profiles produced in China. AEC estimates upwards of 600 million pounds of extrusions are being produced in the U.S. that would have otherwise been lost to China.
The study also assesses the future impact on the industry should the orders be eliminated or the tariff rates fall. "What I found most telling is that the risk exposure is heavily weighted to building and construction applications and includes a clear risk to the transportation market, including automotive applications," said Jeff Henderson, director of operations at the AEC. "For the first time, we have insight into which markets are most vulnerable in the event tariffs were to decline or be eliminated."
The study says the Chinese industry has taken countermeasures in an attempt to regain its lost position, including investments in large press capacity, engineering resources and downstream capabilities. U.S. extruders are seeing Chinese competitors attempting to add value to extrusions so they can claim they now offer a finished product.
The Aluminum Extruders Council and Ducker Worldwide will co-host a webinar for AEC members on Dec. 17 that will review the study and its findings. AEC members may register for the free webinar by visiting www.AECmeets.org.