By Nathan Bomey
The Trump administration said today that it would immediately impose tariffs on aluminum sheets imported from 18 countries after a preliminary investigation concluded they were being "dumped" in the U.S.
The move, which affects countries including Germany, Egypt and South Korea, comes ahead of the U.S. International Trade Commission's official determination in the antidumping case in February.
“The department’s aluminum sheet investigations constitute the broadest U.S. trade enforcement action in two decades,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday.
The affected countries are Bahrain, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Oman, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey. Collectively, they exported nearly $2 billion in aluminum to the U.S. in 2019, according to the Commerce Department.
Ross told Fox Business on Friday that the tariff rate will range from the single digits for Bahrain to anywhere from 52% to 132% for Germany.
The U.S. is already imposing tariffs on Chinese aluminum.
Historically, antidumping duties have been imposed when the U.S. determines that a foreign country has subsidized products or sold them at an unfairly low rate to Americans.
The Aluminum Association, a trade group that represents American aluminum companies, praised the move. The group said it was necessary because Chinese aluminum producers had shifted production to other countries after the U.S. imposed tariffs on them in 2018 to stop their alleged dumping.
“Today’s decisions underscore the Commerce Department’s commitment to combatting unfair trade,” Aluminum Association CEO Tom Dobbins said in a statement. “The Commerce Department’s findings confirm that foreign producers relied on artificially low prices to rapidly increase their aluminum sheet exports to the United States, just as unfairly traded imports from China were beginning to withdraw from the market.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.