You Bet Your Glass: December 2012
By Frank Fulton
China wins Round One
By Frank Fulton
For the time being, the importing of cheap offshore aluminum windows and curtainwall products continues to be perfectly legal
For the time being, the importing of cheap offshore aluminum windows and curtainwall products continues to be perfectly legal, but several Canadian manufacturers have banded together to try to stop what they feel is the dumping of these products. Thus far, their attempts have been unsuccessful.
Earlier this year, eight companies (Allan Windows, Ferguson Neudorf Glass, Flynn Canada, Inland Glass and Aluminum, Oldcastle Building Envelope, Sota Glazing, Starline Architectural Windows, and Toro Aluminum) pooled their resources and hired legal counsel in an attempt to have tariffs imposed on aluminum curtainwalls imported from China. Sixteen additional companies provided letters of support for the action.
Opposing the complaint were Jangho Curtain Wall Canada, Shenyang Yuanda Aluminum Industry Engineering and Yuanda Canada Enterprises.
Informed industry sources told me “there have been a number of projects where imports had greatly undercut the prices of domestic products, in some instances by as much as 50 per cent, in spite of the fact that the importers would have to use local installers at competitive rates.” The Canadian manufacturers claim that the Chinese companies are selling the aluminum components at below cost and that, for them to be so inexpensive, they must be subsidized.
In July 2012, a statement from Canadian trade officials said, “The president of the Canada Border Services Agency initiated investigations into the alleged injurious dumping and subsidizing of unitized wall modules from the People’s Republic of China.”
In their submission to Canada Border Services, the complainants claimed that the “alleged dumping and subsidizing of the subject goods (aluminum curtainwalls) had caused injury and were threatening to cause injury” to Canadian companies, and “purported to provide evidence alleging lost sales, a decline of market share, price suppression and price erosion, reduced profitability, a decline in production capacity, capacity utilization and employment, and delays in making capital investments.” They presented 10 project-specific allegations of injury, comprising nine allegations of lost sales and one of price depression.
Following review of the petition and the evidence submitted, in October 2012 a lengthy document was issued stating that “the Canadian International Trade Tribunal hereby concludes that the evidence does not disclose a reasonable indication that the dumping and subsidizing of the subject goods have caused injury or retardation or are threatening to cause injury.”
An appeal is currently being prepared containing more compelling evidence in the hopes that a favourable ruling will take place early in 2013.
It is noteworthy that in 2008 a consortium of Canadian aluminum extrusion manufacturers filed claims with the same governing bodies alleging dumping and subsidizing of aluminum extrusions originating in or exported from the People’s Republic of China. In 2009, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal found that the Chinese were guilty of unfair trading practices and ruled in favour of the Canadian complainants. Since that time a number of challenges have been filed by local users of aluminum extrusions and the initial ruling has been upheld in each case. The most recent interim review took place in November 2012.
Considering that aluminum extrusions, one of the primary components of a “unitized wall module,” were ruled to have been sold unfairly, it is puzzling how the Tribunal could have reached the decision that, when further engineered and fabricated, the same material was being sold in a fair and competitive manner.
Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting. He has been in the industry for 30 years and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.