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China's aluminium market too relaxed about US dumping moves

Metal News - Published on Mon, 04 Dec 2017

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Reuters reported that it will be tempting for China's aluminium market participants to dismiss as inconsequential the latest move by the US Commerce Department to impose anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on imports of aluminium alloy sheet. The proposed moves would affect only a small amount of China's aluminium exports, but the main issue isn't the economic value of the US action, but rather where it ultimately may lead.

The United States' imports of flat-rolled alloy sheet from China were just USD 603.6 million in 2016, and the latest action doesn't affect the considerably more valuable trade in aluminium used to make beverage cans.

The new move comes after the Commerce Department in October imposed preliminary duties on imports of aluminium foil from China.

Again, the amount of aluminium affected is negligible compared to China's total exports, but it does illustrate a wider trend.

While China's aluminium producers may feel they can afford to be relaxed about the imposition of US anti dumping measures, the example of what has happened to their counterparts in the steel industry may prove instructive.

The United States has also levelled accusations against China about dumping steel, and although the issue was discussed at high-levels talks in Washington in July, no measures have yet been imposed on Chinese exports.

Similar to aluminium, China's steel exports to the United States are a small percentage of its overall shipments abroad, a factor that allowed Chinese steel mills to appear nonchalant about the threats of action by the Trump administration.

Also similar to aluminium, China isn't a major supplier of steel to the United States, with it ranking 10th, well behind the top suppliers, the US neighbours of Canada and Mexico.

In theory, for both steel and aluminium, Chinese exporters should be able to shrug off US anti-dumping duties, or the threat thereof.

But the importance lies much more in the symbolism.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Mon, 04 Dec 2017
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