The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) is conducting an anti-circumvention investigation on Chinese aluminum extruder China Zhongwang.
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) filed a petition with the DOC last October, accusing Zhongwang of evading duties on aluminum extrusions imported into the U.S. The DOC decided that while 5050 alloyed aluminum extrusions are not expressly covered by the scope of its orders, it initiated the anti-circumvention investigation to determine whether imports of 5050 alloyed extrusions have been circumventing the anti-dumping and countervailing duties.
“We applaud the DOC’s decision,” says Jeff Henderson, director of operations for the AEC. “… We look forward to the industry receiving relief from this duty evasion scheme.”
Based on information in the AEC’s petition, the DOC found there is sufficient basis to initiate an anti-circumvention inquiry. The AEC submitted evidence it says proves Zhongwang, through a series of affiliated exporters and U.S. importers, “has poured billions of pounds of aluminum extrusions into the United States and Mexico in recent years, much of which just sits in warehouses and open fields.”
“The evidence provided in the submission also demonstrates the lengths to which Zhongwang has systematically evaded the antidumping/countervailing duties by exporting extrusions into the U.S. in a variety of forms, which have only one thing in common: they have been manipulated solely for the purpose of evading duties and should continue to be subject to the orders,” Henderson said in February.
The DOC was originally slated to make a decision on whether it would go on with the investigation earlier this year, but it was postponed in late January.
Now that it is moving forward, the DOC will determine whether the merchandise subject to the inquiry involves either a minor alteration to subject merchandise in such minor respects that it should be subject to the Orders, and/or represents a later-developed product that can be considered subject to the Orders.
The DOC will not order the suspension of liquidation of entries of any additional merchandise at this time. However, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.225(l)(2), if the Department issues a preliminary affirmative determination, “it will then instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation and require a cash deposit of estimated duties, at the applicable rate, for each unliquidated entry of the merchandise at issue, entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after the date of initiation of the inquiry,” according to AEC.
In October, the Chinese business publication The Standard reported that the company’s response to the allegations is that it “always exports products under trade rules,” adding that products sent to the United States “are deep-processed ones excluded from anti-dumping and anti-subsidy rules.”