WASHINGTON, D.C. – (January 12, 2016) – The China Trade Task Force strongly applauds the decision by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman to today launch a new trade enforcement complaint at the World Trade Organization against China’s illegal aluminum subsides. The complaint is the first step in eradicating China’s illegal subsidization of its primary aluminum industry, which has negatively impacted the U.S. economy and cost thousands of Americans their jobs.
In 2001, when China joined the WTO there were 18 aluminum smelters in the United States. Today, there are only five, following a series of closures due to China not playing by the rules. Over the same time, China has doubled down on its domestic aluminum production, now producing more than 50% of total global supply, even though China’s industry consists primarily of high-cost smelters. China’s aluminum industry is also emblematic of the ways in which the government’s influence has expanded from the state sector into supposedly “private” enterprise.
“The case is a systemic challenge to China’s industrial model, which is to use state support to build up capacity that depresses prices, hurting competitors worldwide” according to Alan H. Price, Partner and International Trade Group Practice Chair at Wiley Rein LLP, who consulted with U.S. trade authorities on the WTO case.
Chinese aluminum production capacity has increased by 22 million tons (130 percent) in the last eight years, depressing world prices of the commodity by more than 35 percent. China’s capacity is expected to grow further over the next five years. In the last decade, some 15,000 U.S. aluminum production workers have lost their jobs, including more than 3,000 U.S. workers in the last year alone.
“USTR’s decision to file the landmark WTO case is a critical first step in leveling the playing field for thousands of U.S. workers.” said CTTF Executive Director Mark Duffy. “We very much hope that the incoming Trump Administration will stand up to China’s illegal trade practices and move this historic WTO case forward.”
About China Trade Task Force:
The China Trade Task Force (CTFF) is committed to supporting and saving tens of thousands of American jobs. The U.S. aluminum market directly creates more than 10,600 American jobs, indirectly supports tens of thousands more jobs, and contributes more than $6 billion in U.S. economic output each year. China is targeting American workers by providing illegal subsidies to Chinese aluminum producers. For more information, please visit us online at www.chinatradetaskforce.com