Archive for the ‘Enforcement and Compliance’ Category


Steel and Aluminum: Trade You Can Track

June 28, 2021

Eric Anderson is an International Trade Specialist in the Enforcement & Compliance Office of Communications

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Circular saw cutting through a pipe throwing off sparks. Image from

While you may not regularly think about it, there are few commodities more ubiquitous in our lives than steel and aluminum. From consumer electronics to aerospace technology, we are constantly surrounded by products that contain these two important metals. In fact, that device you are using right now is made of steel; and that can of carbonated water in your hand is made from aluminum. In 2020, the United States was the world’s fifth largest producer of crude steel and the ninth largest producer of primary aluminum. As such, the global steel and aluminum trade impacts our everyday lives and, as a result, has great national importance.

Even though we produce a lot of steel and aluminum domestically, the United States’ large domestic market almost always needs more than it can supply. To bridge the shortage, many different types of steel and aluminum are imported into the U.S. market. But where does all of this imported steel and aluminum come from? To get a closer look at how these commodities enter the U.S. market, ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) business unit developed Steel and Aluminum Import Monitors, which are unique tools that provide greater transparency in trade flows and import trends for these iconic industries.

Aluminum Import Monitor

Members of the public are now able to see where imports of aluminum were produced thanks to our new interactive tool, the Aluminum Import Monitor (AIM). On June 28, 2021, importers of aluminum will be required to apply for a free license which will include information such as type of product, country of origin, and value or volume, etc. These license data will be integrated into the monitor, in aggregate, to provide the same early indicators to changing import trends as the Steel Import Monitor. Data obtained through the program will help identify surges in imports of specific aluminum products, including possible anomalies in the trade of aluminum products subject to import duties, which bolsters the effectiveness of existing trade remedy measures. The AIM also allows users to obtain and analyze data in the form of graphs, maps, and tables

Steel Import Monitor

The sister program to AIM, our Steel Import Monitor, for nearly two decades has provided the public with near real-time aggregate data on steel mill imports into the United States. This monitoring tool assists E&C and the steel industry, for example, in identifying import trends and changes as well as potential circumvention and evasion. With these numbers, steel industry watchers are able to pick up on any early indicators of import trends, and make important business decisions. Earlier this year, E&C enhanced the original version of this dashboard by using additional data collected through the steel licenses to provide more product level detail to platform users.

Steel Melt and Pour Dashboard

This innovative, first-of-its-kind tool displays data from Commerce’s new ‘melt and pour’ dashboard, which has recently been unveiled and available to the public. The supply chain view in the dashboard shows where U.S. imported steel was first produced and where it was further processed into the imported steel mill product. Just like how “farm to table” is all about knowing where food comes from, the melt and pour dashboard enables users to get a glimpse at the supply chain of steel.

These monitoring tools provide E&C with more data about the supply chain of finished steel imports into the United States. This data aids E&C’s ability to monitor for anomalies in trade patterns, which can help E&C and the domestic manufacturers to identify potential transshipment and circumvention of U.S. antidumping and countervailing duty orders, which are an important remedy that protect American businesses and workers from unfairly traded foreign products.


Spotlight on Commerce: Ava Jamerson, International Trade Specialist

May 20, 2021

Ava Jamerson is an International Trade Specialist in the Enforcement and Compliance Office of Communications

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog as part of its Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month series.

I am an International Trade Specialist and professional communicator for ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) unit. In this role, I help U.S. industries, media and the public understand the work we do to support a free, fair, and rules-based system of trade that protects American workers and businesses. Working in E&C’s communications office is extremely rewarding because I get a birds-eye-view of the entire business unit’s daily operations, and the great variety of work I do makes every day fresh and exciting.

I want to share my story of growing up Asian American with a twist. Born in Oregon, I was whisked away to China within the first two weeks, where I spent five years of my life before being towed around the world by my State Department parents. From a young age, I felt that I didn’t fit in. I am half-Chinese and half African American but being “Blasian” (Black and Asian) comes with its own unique set of experiences. At the market in China, vendors would call my Chinese mom a nanny, while pointing at me whispering “wai guo ren,” or “outsider.” In other countries, I was called an “American” while my more “Asian-looking” friends were called “Chino.” Even back in the states, people are not very quick to realize that I am Asian. At first, I struggled with feelings of belonging, but my life abroad has blessed me with a broader perspective as I absorbed cultures from around the world and met inspiring people from extremely diverse backgrounds. It taught me that although the brain is hardwired to depend on labels and biases, we need to question and challenge our subconscious, and sometimes override our preconceptions.

Despite struggling with the disconnect when I was younger, not “looking” Chinese has been a blessing that taught me that being Asian is all about what’s on the inside. Some of my favorite memories in Dalian include catching cicadas with my cousin on a hot  summer day, watching my nimble-fingered aunts pinch pillowy dumplings at New Years, and sitting on plastic stools in the street to eat a breakfast of deep-fried dough and soymilk. These all became formative experiences of what being Chinese means to me. The same memories later pushed me to learn even more. Right before graduating from high school in Mexico, I moved back to the U.S. just in time to experience one year of public school and, in 2014, I enrolled in the University of Oregon’s Chinese Flagship Program. The following year, I attended a summer language program hosted by Princeton, and later received the Boren scholarship to fund a full year of study and work abroad in China in 2016. After graduation, I was naturally drawn to public service because I watched how the government gives hardworking and kind people like my parents the opportunity to build relationships with people all over the world while also representing something bigger than themselves. To me, Asian American Pacific Islander month is all about recognizing how being Chinese plays a big role in my life and sharing my culture with others.

The lessons I’ve learned surrounding the Asian identity are especially prevalent right now. Recent high-profile race-based hate crimes have spurred much-needed conversations about the aggressions that minorities face on a daily basis. It hits even closer to home to know that even the older generation is targeted, and folks like my mom, uncles, and aunts, are being harassed based on their heritage. It is deeply saddening that fear and ignorance can be so damaging, when my global exposure has shown me firsthand the commonalities, we have between each other. None of us is going to solve racism in a day, but one first step that we can all take is to focus on changing ourselves and the people around us. The key takeaway is to take on the world with an open mind and ask the people who surround you to do the same. As for the young people out there, visibility is everything. Having diverse representation in the federal government is important because it gives minority groups the opportunity to amplify their voices and shape America into a country that is institutionally inclusive and fair for everyone.   

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce employees during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


Trade Remedies: Ensuring a Free and Fair International Trade System

May 12, 2021

Eric Anderson and Ava Jamerson are International Trade Specialists in the Enforcement & Compliance Office of Communications

At the core of President Biden’s Build Back Better initiative is economic recovery that drives wage growth and leads to better outcomes for all Americans. International trade is a key component this recovery, and in honor of World Trade Month, we’re taking a closer look at how the International Trade Administration (ITA) supports a fair, and rules-based system of trade that both defends and empowers American workers and manufacturers.  

Many people know about ITA’s efforts to promote exports overseas, but ITA is also home to the Enforcement and Compliance (E&C) Unit, which administers trade remedies on imported products that are designed to rebalance the international trading system in the face of unfair trade practices like dumping or unfair pricing.

E&C teams are charged with the critical responsibility to take action when unfair trade practices threaten American competitiveness. The strongest tool that we use to maintain healthy competition in international trade is enforcing U.S. trade remedy statutes, which authorize E&C to investigate and, if necessary, apply antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD). But what, exactly, are antidumping and countervailing duties, how do they work, and why are they essential to a balanced system of global trade?

Antidumping duties are imposed when a foreign company undervalues its product when selling in the American market; countervailing duties are enacted when foreign governments provide unfair subsidies to an industry, which can result in artificially low prices for imports. These unfair trade practices have the potential to damage the competing U.S. industry. Some industries may be large enough to weather the damages caused by undervalued imports, but small and medium sized businesses are often unable to do so and therefore need effective relief from unfairly traded goods. The U.S. currently has AD/CVD duties in effect on 597 products from around the world – 37 percent of them cover products imported from China, and it is estimated that in recent years, the United States collected approximately $2.3 billion as a result of AD/CVDs. These trade remedies stabilize the market and hold foreign governments responsible for conducting trade in a fair and equitable manner.

Our trade remedy actions are bolstered by the work done by E&C’s Trade Agreements Negotiations and Compliance team which works with foreign governments on behalf of American companies to remove technical barriers to trade, and the Foreign-Trade Zones program which provides companies with a range of benefits, including streamlined customs procedures, to keep their business in the United States.

As our economy begins to rebound from the devastation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, trade remedies are essential component of building back better. They defend American jobs, help level the playing field for American businesses and industries, and contribute to a fair and equitable international trading system. If you’d like to learn more about the AD/CVD duties, please visit ITA’s webpage on U.S. Antidumping and Countervailing Duties.