Kodak gets 232 exclusions for Al litho sheet

Eastman Kodak Co was granted 40 exclusions to the United States' Section 232 tariffs by the Commerce Department on Tuesday January 29 to allow the company to import aluminium lithographic sheet and foil on a duty-free basis.

This brings the camera-related technology company’s granted requests to 65, out of the total 68 exclusion requests submitted.

“The Department of Commerce [on January 29] has posted favorable decisions on a majority of the outstanding Kodak exclusion requests. We now have exclusions granted for 65 of our 68 total requests; we are still waiting for the decision memos of the three remaining requests to be posted,” Kodak director of external communications Nicholas Rangel told Fastmarkets.

Lithographic sheet, mainly used in the packaging and printing sectors, is produced from primary or secondary aluminium ingot, independent analyst Lloyd O’Carroll said.

Fastmarkets AMM assessed the P1020 duty-paid premium at 19-19.5 cents per lb delivered to the Midwest on January 29, up 75% from 10.5-11.5 cents per lb on the same date last year. The premium had climbed to a more than three-year high of 22-23 cents per lb in April, just one month after the Section 232 tariffs went into effect.

The limited applications of the product mean relatively small quantities of this material are consumed, O’Carroll said.

Still, US consumers of chill-cast lithographic aluminium have been forced to import the material because Alcoa, the last producer of this product in the US, stopped making it in 2018.

“Lithographic aluminium is a very specific type of aluminium. Either aluminium manufacturers have the proper finishing lines or they don’t. Alcoa is the only known US supplier to have direct-chill cast lithographic aluminium, and in their 2017 annual report they stated they would be getting out of this business in the second quarter of [2018],” Kodak wrote in its exclusion request.

Kodak specifically requested supply from Oslo, Norway-based Norsk Hydro’s plant in Germany and from United Kingdom-based Bridgnorth Aluminium.

“We have been sourcing lithographic aluminium from suppliers in Germany and Great Britain since well before the Section 232 tariffs went into effect,” Rangel said.

US imports of lithographic sheet ranging from 0.2-6.3mm totaled 11,995 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2018, the most recent data available, down by 16.6% from 14,385 tonnes in January-October 2017, US International Trade Commission data show.

US mports of lithographic foil below 0.2mm fell by 28.1% to 8,458 tonnes from nearly 11,767 tonnes in the same comparison.