US manufacturers have until 31 August to submit written responses to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) questionnaire regarding the impact of tariffs on sheet aluminium pricing and availability while industry trade associations and banding together to assist.

In a webinar hosted Wednesday by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), boating, recreational vehicle and related manufacturers were offered step-by-step assistance as well as vetting of their testimony prior to submission by a law firm hired by a coalition of trade groups.

Kristin Mowry of Mowry & Grimson is serving as trade counsel to the group, and along with a team of economists will be compiling and analyzing industry data to make the case to the ITC that the 120% tariff on imported sheet aluminium from China is creating hardships for recreational equipment builders.

While manufacturers who received a survey from the ITC are required to comply with the filing, the associations involved are urging members to file evidence independently. No competitive or proprietary information will be shared outside of the ITC process, according to Mowry. THE ITC form is available on-line for download.

Mowry said the ITC process is looking at individual companies and the industry as a while. “Is there injury to domestic producers caused by the subject imports,” is the question ITC is trying to answer, Mowry said during the webinar.

The ITC is looking for information like the factors other than price that go into a company’s purchase decision and if domestic availability and pricing have been affected.

Mowry suggests each company appoint a single lead person to head efforts, but points out that all areas of effected companies – purchasing, quality control, accounting and production. Mowry confesses that the process requires a great deal of time and comes at a bad time of year for most manufacturers. “It is a horrible endeavor,” she said, adding, “but it is very important to give the ITC a clear picture.”

The ITC is due to issue its report on initial data submission by 16 October. NMMA will host a pre-hearing briefing for industry on 23 October, with the ITC set to hear the case on 30 October. Industry must the file its final legal briefs by 30 November, with the Commission is scheduled to vote on the matter 5 December.