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April 5, 2021

U.S. Trade News: New Duties On Aluminum Sheet, Biden Administration Officials Address Section 232, Currency Manipulation

The Biden administration made several interesting moves and statements last week. These include:

  • In a television interview on April 1, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum have helped even out competition for the nation’s metals producers, but have created problems for other industries. Specifically, Secretary Raimondo said, “Those tariffs have worked … I’m not saying that they’re perfect — they’ve created other challenges.” Secretary Raimondo also said, “The fact of the matter is China doesn’t play fair, it does whatever it takes, so we need to use the tools in our toolbox to level the playing field so American workers have a shot.” The Biden administration has not yet made a formal decision about whether it will keep the Section 232 metals tariffs in place or remove them. Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots for developments on this matter.
  • On March 31, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) announced a unanimous determination that imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from 16 countries have materially injured U.S. producers. As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce will issue antidumping duty orders on imports from Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, and Turkey; and countervailing duty orders on imports of this product from Bahrain, India, and Turkey. Read more about this decision here.
  • U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai raised concerns about Vietnam’s currency practices during an April 1 virtual meeting with the country’s trade minister. As Bloomberg explained, the Trump administration had “refrained from hitting Vietnam with punitive tariffs even after the U.S. Treasury designated the Hanoi government as a currency manipulator and the U.S. Trade Representative [had] labeled Vietnam’s currency actions unreasonable and restrictive to American businesses.” Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots as the Biden administration’s policy on currency develops.
  • The U.S. Commerce Department again delayed full implementation of the federal government’s Aluminum Import Monitoring (AIM) program. This delay means the program will not be in place until at least June 28, 2021. Read more here.