The Court of International Trade (CIT) is standing behind its decision that Chinese curtainwall units imported into the U.S. are subject to trade remedy orders. The ruling was issued yesterday in a case brought forth last fall by Yuanda challenging Commerce’s curtainwall scope decision.
But John D’Amario, Yuanda’s northwestern USA sales manager, believes the ruling may have ironically done more to damage the U.S. aluminum industry than anything its Chinese competitors might have ever accomplished.
“All they succeeded in effect is bringing China closer to the homeland,” D’Amario says.
According to the ruling, “Because curtainwall units are ‘parts for’ a finished curtainwall, the court’s primary holding is that curtainwall units and other parts of curtainwall systems fall within the scope of the Orders … for this reason … Commerce’s Final Scope Ruling is sustained.”
But David Spooner, the attorney from the law firm of Squire Sanders who represented defendants Walters & Wolf, Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems Inc. and Architectural Glass & Aluminum Co, welcomes the decision.
“The Court thoroughly examined the facts and ruled that curtainwall units are covered by the China tariffs, and always have been covered. Period,” Spooner says. “No ifs, ands, or buts. We’ve been working with Customs to make sure that the tariffs are enforced and will, of course, make sure that the ports are aware of the Court’s ruling.”
Efforts to reach representatives of Walters & Wolf and Architectural Glass and Aluminum were unsuccessful on Friday afternoon, but Nick Bagatelos, the president of Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems, hailed the ruling for ensuring fairness.
“I am happy that the U.S. Government is standing in front of American businesses and protecting us from illegal trade practices,” he says. “The Chinese curtainwall companies have tried to circumvent the law, by shipping through Mexico, but all curtainwall coming into the U.S. is subject to these laws.
But D’Amario says the ruling just means that companies such as Yuanda and others will simply buy their aluminum elsewhere before bringing it to China, fabricating it there and then selling it in the U.S.
“It’s not really going to affect us,” D’Amario says, “but the price of aluminum could go be a little more costly because aluminum is the cheapest in China.”
D’Amario adds that Yuanda and others have already moved forward with plans to open manufacturing plants in Tijuana, Mexico, where the close proximity to the U.S. border and readily available cheap labor figures to help.
“[The court decision] is kind of like the war on drugs,” D’Amario says. “Some people earn their keep by fighting the war. To me, it’s just another speed bump for the Chinese.”
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