U.S. executives are reportedly squabbling with a Chinese company over a pile of aluminum sitting in a remote desert region of Mexico.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Commerce Department was investigating the aluminum hoard, which was once estimated to be worth about $2 billion. The agency received complaints that alleged China Zhongwang Holdings was dodging U.S. tariffs by exporting its aluminum to Mexico before shipping it to the United States, a process also known as transshipping.
Although the company's chairman, Liu Zhongtian, denied the claims, the Journal reported that documents it reviewed showed significant quantities of aluminum being shipped to Mexico from China, changing hands along the way. The Journal reported that one of these intermediary companies was owned by Liu's son.
This report has been updated to reflect that claims of a China Zhongwang Holdings stockpile were made by U.S. aluminum executives.