China trade body confirms challenge to U.S. aluminum foil tariffs

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese metals industry association confirmed on Monday that the nation’s aluminum sector would mount a legal challenge to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s preliminary decision to impose antidumping tariffs on imports of Chinese aluminum foil.

The aluminum sector will “take the necessary measures to safeguard the industry’s interests,” the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association said in a statement, adding that it was organizing a joint defense by foil-exporting companies.

Reuters reported last week that the association was spearheading the defense, which groups 12 firms, after the United States slapped Chinese foil exporters with antidumping tariffs of 16.56 percent to 80.97 percent.

Documents reviewed by Reuters last week show that Shanghai-based Loften Aluminum, China’s largest foil exporter to the United States, was hit with the highest tariff and will have to foot the biggest share of legal costs at nearly 19 percent.

The association on Monday urged U.S. authorities not to harm the interests of Chinese businesses and downstream U.S. aluminum companies with unilateral trade measures.

Ignoring how the two countries’ aluminum sectors complement each other would lead to a “lose-lose” outcome, it said.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce last week urged Washington to act “prudently” in the aluminum foil row. A final ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce is due in October..

The case is separate from the U.S. commerce department’s “Section 232” investigation into whether China’s large aluminum production capacity, and alleged dumping and subsidies, threaten U.S. economic security.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Tom Hogue