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USTR Files Landmark WTO Complaint, on Behalf of Wiley Rein Client, on China’s Subsidies to Aluminum Producers

January 12, 2017

Washington, DC—On behalf of Wiley Rein LLP’s client, Century Aluminum, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today filed one of the largest and most complicated World Trade Organization (WTO) cases in recent years. The landmark case challenges China’s subsidization of its aluminum industry and seeks to remedy the injury the Chinese government’s policies are causing to the U.S. aluminum industry. For the first time, this case directly challenges the systemic distortions of China’s state-directed economy. 

“Artificially cheap loans from banks and low-priced inputs for Chinese aluminum are contributing to excess capacity and undercutting American workers and businesses,” Ambassador Froman said in a news release. “Today’s action follows significant engagement by this Administration on excess capacity and demonstrates our commitment to hold China to its trade obligations.”

The complaint, which urges China to reduce primary aluminum excess capacity and level the playing field for businesses internationally, will be reviewed by the WTO before a final determination is made.

Wiley Rein had a crucial role in developing this case over the past year, working in coordination with its SIGNAL Group subsidiary. The Wiley Ream team includes Alan H. Price, partner and chair of the International Trade Practice; partner Robert E. DeFrancesco, III; associates Laura El-Sabaawi and Adam M. Teslik; special counsel Ying Lin; and international trade analyst John W. Clayton, Jr.

Mr. Price, commenting in today’s Wall Street Journal coverage of the complaint, said: “The case is a systemic challenge to China’s industrial model, which is state support to build up capacity that depresses prices,” reducing fair and competitive pricing not only in the United States, but worldwide.

Wiley Rein’s International Trade Group—recognized as one of the country’s elite trade practices—has a strong record of winning large and complex antidumping and countervailing duty cases on behalf of major U.S. industries. The Team is among a limited number of practices that regularly serve as principal counsel for major unfair trade investigations.