WASHINGTON (Eurasia.net) – The Biden administration has introduced new tariffs on Armenia’s largest export to the United States. Last month, the Department of Commerce made a preliminary determination that Armenian aluminum foil is being sold “at less than fair value” in the US – “dumped,” in industry jargon. Until a final decision is made in the fall, Armenian foil exporters must pay U.S. Customs a cash deposit equivalent to 188.84 percent of the product value.
Aluminum foil accounts for almost half of Armenian exports to the U.S., according to UN trade data. It was worth more than $33 million in 2020. The foil is manufactured by a plant in Yerevan known as Armenal, which is owned by Russian aluminum giant Rusal.
The Commerce determination is based on a complaint brought last year by an industry group arguing that aluminum foil manufacturers in Armenia and four other countries had “injured U.S. producers” with “aggressively low-priced imports.”
In its September filing, the Aluminum Association told Commerce that after Washington imposed anti-dumping enforcement actions against China in 2018, Armenia, Brazil, Oman, Russia and Turkey quickly moved into the American market with aluminum below fair market value.
“Between 2017 and 2019, imports from the five subject countries increased by 110 percent to more than 210 million pounds,” the Aluminum Association said in September.
Armenia faces the stiffest penalty of the five, said the U.S. International Trade Commission, at the 188.84 percent rate. When a final decision is made, the rate could change: “If the final rate is different or if an order is not imposed, cash deposits will be refunded or changed as appropriate,” a Commerce official told Eurasianet.