LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 30 (Reuters) – It will be tempting for China’s aluminium market participants to dismiss as inconsequential the latest move by the U.S. 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 U.S. action, but rather where it ultimately may lead.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in announcing the move on Nov. 28, said it was “one more step” in fulfilling President Donald Trump’s campaign against what he termed unfair trade practices.
The United States’ imports of flat-rolled alloy sheet from China were just $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.