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ABC Metals President Testifies Before USTR

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ABC Metals President Dan Kendall was among several red metals executives who testified Monday before the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on a proposed tariff. Kendall testified to challenge the application of 100 percent ad valorem tariffs being imposed on almost all copper and copper alloy from EU countries.

Kendall claimed the high-performance copper-based alloys in the USTR list are critical to U.S. manufacturing in electronics, automotive, aerospace, agribusiness, defense and home appliance industries. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, these manufacturers represent approximately $1.7 trillion in U.S. output annually.

Ten high-performance copper-based alloys, including copper bars and rods, copper sheet and strip from 0.15 to 5 millimeters, copper nickel sheet and strip greater than .15 millimeters, have been proposed for the tariffs to the USTR by Olin Brass. According to its letter to Lighthizer, Olin Brass said the copper and copper alloy semi-fabricating sector “is coming under an increasing threat of to its continued existence due to declining domestic commercial markets aggravated by imports that are grabbing an ever-expanding share of these smaller markets.”

The company noted production of copper and copper alloys in the U.S. has declined from more than four billion pounds in 2016 to just over two billion pounds in 2016.

In his response, Kendall said the tariffs are a threat to the domestic supply chain.

“American manufacturers, like ABC are compelled to look globally to access these metals, which possess unique chemistries and mechanical properties. Because of inadequate domestic supply, we source these metals in Europe. European mills are able to supply to the rigorous demand of our customers. The proposed increased tariffs on imports from Europe would force ABC to choose between reducing our offerings and losing our customers or becoming beholden to the virtual monopoly being created by Wieland Metals in the U.S. copper alloy industry.”

A number of companies in the metals industry, included Heyco Metals, KME America and Christy Metals, have provided support to the tariff opposition. The Precision Metalforming Association is also among the opponents.