(May 14, 2018 Washington, DC) On Friday, May 11th, the Copper and Brass Fabricators Council (CBFC) filed comments with the Section 301 Committee of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) seeking the inclusion of certain copper and copper alloy semi-fabricated mill products in the list of products to be subject to duties under the Administration’s Section 301 action. The comments were filed in response to USTR’s Request for Public Comment Concerning Proposed Determination of Action Pursuant to Section 301: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property and Innovation.
CBFC is a trade association that represents the principal copper and brass mills in the United States. These mills together account for fabrication of more than 80% of all copper-based, semi-fabricated products produced in the United States, including sheet, strip, plate and foil, bar and rod, plumbing, commercial, and OEM tube, forgings, shapes, and profiles. The products are relied upon for a wide variety of applications, chiefly in the architectural, automotive, construction, infrastructure, defense, electronic/electrical, and oil and gas industries.  The far-ranging uses of the products made by the CBFC member companies play an important role in the economy and national security of the United States. A healthy and vibrant copper-and-brass-mill industry has always been, and remains, an essential component of the U.S. manufacturing base. Unfortunately, the industry’s continued viability is under stress.
Production and consumption of all copper and copper alloy semi-fabricated products in the United States have been on a steady decline since at least the turn of the millennium. For example, in 2000, slightly over 4 billion pounds of copper and copper alloys were used to produce a variety of semi-fabricated products. By 2016, this market had dropped by half to just over 2 billion pounds. During the same general period, imports of semi-fabricated products dropped by a lesser degree, increasing import penetration of the U.S. market from a low of 18% in 2002 to 25% in 2014.
“Despite credible attempts to file new trade remedy cases, U.S. copper and brass fabricators have experienced numerous instances when, just as certain products in a certain category begin to surge – often enough to cause injury to domestic producers in a short period of time – imports taper off to prevent application of remedy.” said CBFC President and General Counsel David A. Hartquist. “Though it is clear that the industry is in a less viable state as a result of imports in general, no existing trade remedy appears capable of addressing harm that occurs over decades, and that slowly and silently puts U.S. producers out of business without any apparent recourse.”
CBFC seeks the inclusion of certain copper and copper alloy products on the Section 301 retaliation list and requests the imposition of tariffs in the amount of 25%. These products –include specific forms of bars, rods, and profiles, plates, sheets, and strip, and tube and pipe products.
About the Copper and Brass Fabricators Council
The Copper and Brass Fabricators Council is a non-profit membership trade association open to any person, firm, or corporation engaged in the fabrication or production in the United States of products made, in whole or in part, from copper or copper alloys. Generally, the member companies are engaged in the production of copper and copper alloy sheet and strip, rod and bar, plumbing tubing, OEM or air-conditioning tubing, wire, extrusions, shapes and profiles, forgings, and fittings. These products are used chiefly in the automotive, construction, and electrical/electronic industries. There are currently nineteen member companies who produce over 80% of all copper and brass mill products produced in the United States.