Portman, Brown Applaud Trade Case to Crack Down on China's Aluminum Trade Violations

January 12, 2017 | Press Releases

Senators Requested the Case on Behalf of 15,000 American Aluminum Production Workers Who Have Lost Their Jobs in the Last Decade 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the urging of U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman today launched a World Trade Organization (WTO) case against China to address aluminum overcapacity, which hurts American aluminum manufacturers and their workers. Fifteen thousand workers in U.S. aluminum production have lost their jobs in the last decade, including 1,500 this year alone.

Ohio aluminum producers can compete and win when they have a level playing field. Unfortunately, when competitors like China cheat by subsidizing domestic industry, it leads to a flood of unfair and illegal imports that hurt Ohio companies that play by the rules,” said Portman. “My focus is on protecting Ohio workers and their jobs.  I am pleased that the Administration followed my and Sen. Brown’s advice and is standing up for U.S. aluminum producers at the WTO.” 

When China drives down aluminum costs by cheating, Ohio workers and manufacturers pay the price,” said Brown. “Thousands have lost jobs because of unfairly subsidized aluminum from China that has flooded the market and led to overcapacity, and it’s past time we get tough on these violations before more American workers suffer.”

Portman and Brown wrote to Froman in October 2016 requesting this case.

In violation of its WTO obligations, China’s government has subsidized its aluminum sector – allowing for a sharp increase in capacity and production and giving it an unfair advantage in the market. This has dropped global aluminum prices by 35 percent, causing massive layoffs in the U.S. aluminum sector. A reduction in U.S. production has also harmed U.S. aluminum extruders, forcing them to pay more to import primary aluminum.

The following Ohio aluminum extruders would benefit from a successful WTO case:

·         City of Trenton (Butler County): Magnode Corporation

·         Village of Leetonia (Columbiana County): Pennex Aluminum Company LLC

·         City of Heath (Licking County): Kaiser Aluminum - Newark

·         City of Struthers (Mahoning County): Astro Shapes, Inc. 

·         City of Youngstown (Mahoning County): Aerolite Extrusion Company, General Extrusions Inc.

·         City of Sidney (Shelby County): Sapa Extrusions - Sydney

Portman and Brown have worked to give domestic industries the ability to fight unfair trade practices. In June 2015, their Leveling the Playing Field Act was signed into law, ushering in the most significant changes to trade remedy law since 2002.