The US Department of Commerce has self-initiated an investigation to find out if Chinese aluminum companies are selling their products below cost, a move that has negatively impacted the American aluminum industry, according to industry complaints. The move is an extension of the department’s efforts to combat trade threats from Chinese companies, and it marks the first time in 25 years that the US government has begun its own investigation via self-initiation. Before this, such investigations began in the private sector.
"Countries have avoided self-initiating cases due in part to the diplomatic and geopolitical repercussions," says Scott Lincicome, an international trade attorney at global law firm White & Case LLP. "Self-initiation arguably takes the importing government from what is supposed to be an independent arbiter to being a plaintiff, a litigant."