U.S. steelworkers union petitions against aluminum imports

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United Steelworkers said on Monday it has filed a complaint with U.S. regulators seeking to stem what it called a “flood” of aluminum imports that have damaged U.S. producers and threatened jobs.

The union said in a statement that it filed a petition under Section 201 of U.S. trade law urging the government to take measures, including increasing import tariffs, if the U.S. International Trade Commission finds imports have caused substantial harm.

Earlier this month, the ITC launched an investigation on the impact of burgeoning imports, particularly from China, the world’s top producer and consumer of base metals, on the domestic industry following a prolonged campaign by Century Aluminum Co.

The ITC is expected to make a preliminary decision by June 17. If that is affirmative, the government would have until July 18 to decide on provisional relief, it said.

“A flood of foreign imports and failed trade policies have decimated American manufacturing,” USW International President Leo Gerard said in the statement.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Democrat, threw his support behind the move, accusing the Chinese government of devastating the U.S. aluminum industry by offering “market-distorting” subsidies to support its producers.

“We urge you to provide all appropriate relief as quickly as possible, before more jobs are lost and the few remaining U.S. mills are permanently shuttered,” he said in a letter to President Obama on Monday.

Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Chang and Dan Grebler