US Trade Law Update: December 2016

This bulletin is courtesy of the Law Offices of Nithya Nagarajan, LLC

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DECISIONS

Investigations:

On November 2, 2016, Commerce published its affirmative preliminary determination in the AD investigation of imports of ammonium sulfate from China.

  • On November 7, 2016, Commerce announced its affirmative preliminary determinations in the AD investigations of imports of certain carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate (CTL plate) from Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan
  • On November 17, 2016, Commerce published the antidumping duty and countervailing duty orders on welded stainless pressure pipe from India.
  • On November 29, 2016, Commerce preliminarily determined that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of finished carbon steel flanges (steel flanges) from India.

New Petitions:

  • On November 18, 2016 – the Coalition for Fair Trade in Hardwood Plywood filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions on imports of certain hardwood and plywood products from China. The Department of Commerce will initiate these investigations no later than December 8, 2016.
  • On November 25, 2016 – the Coalition for Lumber filed antidumping and countervailing duty petitions on imports of certain softwood lumber products from Canada. The Department of Commerce will initiate these no later than December 15, 2016.

Administrative Reviews:

  • On November 9, 2016, Commerce published its initiation notice for various antidumping and countervailing duty orders and findings with September anniversary dates.
  • On November 10, 2016 – Commerce initiated a Changed Circumstances review to consider the possible revocation in part of the AD order on certain crystalline silicon photopholtaic products from China with respect to solar panels incorporated in certain battery charging and maintaining units
  • On November 16, 2016, Commerce published the results of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain large diameter carbon and alloy seamless standard, line, and pressure from Japan.
  • On November 16, 2016, Commerce published the results of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain small diameter carbon and alloy seamless standard, line, and pressure from Japan.
  • On November 18, 2016, Commerce published the results of the administrative review and new shipper review of the antidumping duty order on solid urea from Russia.
  • On November 22, 2016 – Commerce published the results of the administrative review on Certain Steel Threaded Rod from China
  • On November 28, 2016, Commerce published the results of the 2014-2015 AD administrative review on Aluminum Extrusions from China.
  • On November 29, 2016, Commerce and ITC determined that revocation of the antidumping duty orders on chlorinated isocyanurates from Spain and the People’s Republic of China would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury.

Anti-Circumvention:

  • On November 7, 2016, Commerce initiated an anticircumvention inquiry on Certain Uncoated Paper from Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Portugal to determine under the minor alterations provision whether uncoated paper with a GE Brightness of 83 +/- 1{bfa08a400c7550404055ff04715e84c9172815d33c25eb3b84e230636ecdc007} is altered in form or appearance from in-scope merchandise
  • On November 14, 2016 – Commerce initiated an anti-circumvention inquiry on the AD and CVD Orders on Certain Corrosion Resistant Steel from China to determine whether certain imports of CORE produced in Vietnam using carbon hot-rolled steel and cold-rolled steel from China are circumventing the AD and CVD orders on CORE from China.
  • On November 14, 2016, Commerce published its affirmative preliminary determination that heat-treated extruded aluminum products that meet the specifications for 5050-grade aluminum alloy are circumventing the AD and CVD orders on Aluminum Extrusions from China.
  • On November 17, 2016, Commerce published its initiation notice on the AD and CVD Orders on Cold-Rolled Steel Flat Products from China
  • On November 22, 2016, Commerce initiated an anti-circumvention inquiry on Uncovered Innerspring Units from China to determine whether certain imports are circumventing the AD Order.

Sunset Reviews:

Sunset Reviews:

  • On November 1, 2016, Commerce automatically initiated 5-Year Sunset Reviews on the following products:
    • Gray Portland Cement & Clinker
    • Helical Spring Lock Washers
    • Multilayered Wood Flooring
    • Welded ASTM A-312 Stainless Steel Pipe
    • Solid Urea
    • Link to Federal Register
  • On November 7, 2016, Commerce found that revocation of the countervailing duty order on stainless steel sheet and strip in coils from the Republic of Korea would likely lead to the continuation or recurrence of a counteravailable subsidy at levels indicated in the Final Results of Review section.
  • On November 7, 2016, Commerce finds that revocation of the countervailing duty order on stainless steel plate in coils from South Africa would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of countervailable subsidy at the levels indicated in the Final Results of Review section.
  • On November 9, 2016, Commerce finds that revocation of the antidumping duty orders on stainless steel plate in coils from Belgium, South Africa, and Taiwan would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping at the levels indicated in the ‘‘Final Results of Sunset Reviews’’.

Sunset Reviews Scheduled for Initiation:

  • On November 16, 2016, Commerce announced that the following antidumping and countervailing duty orders are scheduled for initiation of 5-year sunset reviews in December 2016:
    • Certain Cut-To-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from India (3rd Review)
    • Stainless Steel Wire Rod from India (4th Review)
    • Certain Cut-To-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from Indonesia (3rd Review)
    • Certain Cut-To-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from Republic of Korea (3rd Review)
    • Certain Cut-To-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from India (3rd Review)
    • Certain Cut-To-Length Carbon-Quality Steel Plate from Indonesia (3rd Review)
    • Link to Federal Register

U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION

  • Starting on January 1, 2017 – US CBP will implement the following modifications relating to the filing of reconciliation entries to further automate the ACE process
    • Application Process – New participants will no longer need to apply to CBP HQ to join the program. Instead, importers will need to (1) have a continuous bond on file (single transaction bonds are not allowed); (2) file a reconciliation bond rider; and (3) begin flagging entries for reconciliation.
    • Entry Flagging –CBP will no longer blanket flag entries. Instead, importers will be responsible for flagging their own entries either manually or program software to perform blanket flagging.
    • Reconciliation Transmission – Reconciliation entries will be submitted electronically only in ACE and hardcopies will no longer be required.
    • Reconciliation Reporting –ACE will automatically populate the original value, duties, taxes, and fees relating to the underling entries covered by the reconciliation. Importers will be responsible for reporting the reconciled amounts, as the original entry data will be pulled automatically from the associated underlying entries covered by the reconciliation. CBP has also added a number of program indicators to the reconciliation transmission, requiring importers to provide additional information when transmitting a Type 9 Reconciliation Entry.
    • CBP will no longer issue Importer Trade Activity (“ITRAC”) reports detailing an importer’s entry activity on an entry line-by-line basis. Instead, ITRAC reports will be replaced by ACE reports.

U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION

Section 701/731 Proceedings

Investigations

  • On November 3, 2016, The ITC determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of steel concrete reinforcing bar from Japan, Taiwan, and Turkey that are allegedly sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of Turkey.
  • On November 18, 2016, The ITC announced its determinations in its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations concerning imports of circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe from Oman, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam that the U.S. Department of Commerce has determined are sold in the United States at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of Pakistan.
  • On November 18, 2016, The ITC determined that an industry in the U.S. is neither materially injured nor threatened with material injury by reason of imports of iron mechanical transfer drive components from Canada and China that Commerce has determined are sold in the U.S. at less than fair value and subsidized by the government of China.

Sunset Review Initiations

Sunset Review Decisions

  • On November 3, 2016, The ITC voted to institute an investigation of food supplements and vitamins containing ocular antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and zeaxanthin isomers, that may be used by individuals with certain ocular disorders, including age-related macular degeneration, hyperopia, presbyopia or astigmatism.
  • On November 7, 2016, The ITC voted to institute an investigation of certain mobile device holders and components that are various sized which allow a user to position their mobile devices in a variety of ways, via magnetism.
  • On November 15, 2016, The ITC voted to institute an investigation of certain mobile electronic devices that include hardware and software components within the mobile electronic devices, such as integrated circuits, cameras, RF transmitters, capacitors, and System-on-chips.
  • On November 22, 2016, the ITC instituted an investigation of certain high-potency sweeteners for human consumption.
  • On November 29, 2016, the ITC instituted an investigation of certain UV curable coatings for optical fibers, coated optical fibers, and products containing the same.

OTHER TRADE MATTERS

  • The Chinese government said it feared that the EU would not fulfill its obligations to the WTO by refusing to grant it market economy status when a provision in China’s accession protocol expires. The EU has not taken a unified position on whether China should be granted ME status in December.  Inside US Trade – November 4, 2016.
  • Several European industry groups are railing against the EC’s proposal for a new antidumping methodology for eliminating any reference to non-market economies by placing the burden of proof on the complainant and for potentially not having a criterion for using 3rd country data. The EU proposal published on November 9th, seeks to pre-empt the expiration of the China WTO accession protocol that is interpreted to mean that China should no longer be treated as a non-market economy.  The current EU last lays out 5 criteria that a country must meet to be a market economy and the new proposal would eliminate a reference to these 5 criteria and uses a more vague definition of “significant distortions” to determine a country’s market status.  Inside US Trade – November 9, 2016.
  • The Vietnamese steel industry is urging the Commerce Department to reject an anti-circumvention petition filed by U.S. Industry claiming that Chinese cold-rolled steel is being shipped to Vietnam in order to avoid antidumping and countervailing duties. Inside US Trade – November 9, 2016.
  • The American Sugar Alliance is calling for an end to the U.S-Mexico sugar suspension agreements due to the fact that renegotiation talks are stalled in an effort to modify the deals to reflect the complaints from U.S. growers and refiners that the agreements are not functioning as expected. The renegotiations center around increasing the floor pried of refined sugar imports as well as address the concern that refined sugar was being shipped under the raw sugar category.  Inside US Trade – November 18, 2016.
  • Brazil has formally requested WTO consultations with the U.S. over two CVD cases on hot and cold-rolled steel claiming that the U.S. violated the WTO Agreement on SCM. Brazil has four main claims: (1) the U.S. initiated the case using inaccurate and insufficient data and evidence; (2) the final injury determination was not based on positive evidence; (3) the U.S. incorrectly defined certain government measures; and (4) the U.S. incorrectly calculated the CVD margins as it relates to the tax and loan measures subject to the investigation.  Inside US Trade – November 18, 2016.
  • On November 16, 2016, the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission released its report to the 114th The report focused on trade as well as security concerns.  The Commission recommended that Congress requires that (1) under U.S. AD & CVD laws, that Chinese state-owned enterprises be determined to not have standing to block a case from proceeding; (2) create an office within the ITA whose sole purposes it to identify and initiate AD and CVD cases against China to ensure a more effective and timely response; and (3) to enact legislation requiring Congressional approval to the country as a whole or individual sectors before granting market economy status.

Nithya Nagarajan

Nithya Nagarajan
Law Offices of Nithya Nagarajan, LLC
Tel: +1 202-656-2448 | Cel: +1 301-807-1286
E: nithya@intl-tradelaw.com | W: www.intl-tradelaw.com

Other Trade Matters

  • Chinese steel companies have requested that the ITC dismiss U.S. Steel’s Section 337 case against them for failure to assert an actual injury. U.S. Steel has accused the Chinese government of stealing trade secrets on behalf of the country’s state-run steel industry.
  • The WTO’s appellate body ruled against the United States’ methodology in Korean washer machine antidumping cases. The ruling is significant due to its focus on the Commerce Department’s practice of “zeroing” – or disregarding negative dumping margins – which drive margins up.
  • Another antidumping methodology matter is causing a stir in the trade remedy world as lawyers debate on a proposed shift in the way Commerce deals with determining normal value for products from market economies. The proposal is seen to be in anticipation of China’s potential move to market economy status later this year.
  • A September 14th meeting between Canadian and U.S. officials regarding a deal over softwood lumber did not produce results with less than a month left for negotiation. Canadian Minster of International Trade Chrystia Freeland told reporters that Canada is “prepared to fight” and will continue with litigation over the matter if negotiations do not produce an equitable result for Canadian lumber producers.
  • The Chinese aluminum industry will testify on September 29th before an ITC fact-finding hearing about that nation’s export policies and subsidies. The Section 332 investigation was requested by the House Ways & Means Committee earlier this year and will supplement the already-underway multilateral talks between the two governments on how to address the misclassification of Chinese aluminum to avoid certain duties.
  • The Sweeteners Users Association has inserted itself into the renegotiation of the U.S.-Mexico sugar suspension agreements. The association, which represents end-users of refined sugar, has requested two aspects of the original agreement be changed to lower prices of raw and refined sugar; specifically, those changes are an agreement to support prices used in the 2014 Farm Bill and an increase in the stocks-to-use target ratio.