- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Trump administration Tuesday slapped a punitive import tax on aluminum foil from China, following a preliminary determination that the country was dumping the product in the U.S.

The latest of President Trump’s get-tough trade measures, the import tax or countervailing duty of 16.56 percent to 80.97 percent was aimed at offsetting China’s unfair trade practices.

“The United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal trade, and will continue to validate the information provided to us that brought us to this decision,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. “The Trump administration will not stand idly by as harmful trade practices from foreign nations attempt to take advantage of our essential industries, workers and businesses.”

Mr. Ross instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to immediately begin collecting cash deposits from importers of aluminum foil from China based on preliminary countervailing subsidy rates.

In 2016 imports of aluminum foil from China were valued at an estimated $389 million.

Heidi Brock, president and CEO of The Aluminum Association, said she applauded Mr. Ross’ leadership in combating unfair trade practices.

“This is an important step to begin restoring a level playing field for U.S. aluminum foil production, an industry that supports more than 20,000 direct, indirect and induced American jobs, and accounts for $6.8 billion in economic activity,” she said.

“U.S. aluminum foil producers are among the most competitive producers in the world, but they cannot compete against products that are subsidized by the Chinese government and sold at unfairly low prices,” she said.

Enforcement of U.S. trade law has been a focus of the Trump administration, following through on Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to negotiate better trade deals and get tough with trade cheaters, especially China.

From Jan. 20 through Aug. 8, Commerce initiated 64 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, a 60 percent increase over the number initiated by the Obama administration during the same seven-month period last year, and a 40 percent increase over the number for all of 2016.

The aluminum foil case involved two Chinese exporters of aluminum foil, Dingsheng Aluminum Industries Trading Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong and Jiangsu Zhongji Lamination Materials Co. Ltd., that participated in the proceedings.

Dingsheng Aluminum Industries was hit with a 28.33 percent ad valorem duty and Jiangsu Zhongji Lamination Materials with a 16.56 percent duty.

The countervailing duty case against aluminum foil from China is independent of the Aluminum 232 investigation that was launched in April to determine whether aluminum overcapacity, dumping and illegal subsidies threaten American economic security and military preparedness.

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