Justia International Trade Opinion Summaries

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Meyer imports cookware. Each cookware item manufactured in Thailand began as a steel disc imported from China. In Thailand, the manufacturer transforms the discs into finished cookware and sells finished cookware to distributors in Macau and Hong Kong. The manufacturers, distributors, and Meyer have a common parent/shareholder.Meyer requested duty-free treatment for the cookware produced in Thailand, based on Thailand’s status as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences. Meyer also asked Customs to value its cookware based on the first-sale price that its affiliated distributors paid to the manufacturers. Customs denied duty-free treatment and assessed duties based on the second-sale price that Meyer paid to its distributors. The Court of International Trade ruled that raw materials from nonbeneficiary developing countries must undergo a “double substantial transformation” in the beneficiary developing country to count toward duty-free treatment and the manufacturer did not substantially transform the input a second time by converting the shell into a finished pot; Meyer failed to show that an unfinished shell is a “distinct article of commerce.”The Federal Circuit affirmed in part. The Trade Court properly found only one substantial transformation but erred in requiring Meyer to prove that the first sales were at arm’s length and also unaffected by China’s status as a non-market economy. The court remanded for reconsideration of whether Meyer may rely on its first-sale prices. View "Meyer Corp., U.S. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Acting under the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA) the Department of Commerce has maintained a so-called Entity List to restrict designated foreign parties from receiving United States exports.   Plaintiff, Changji Esquel Textile Co, operates a spinning mill in Xinjiang. The United States has determined that China abuses the human rights of Uyghurs and other religious or ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, including imprisonment and forced labor. Changji and its parent company filed a lawsuit alleging that the Department, in adding Changji to the Entity List, violated ECRA and its implementing regulations, the APA, and the Due Process Clause. They moved for a preliminary injunction on the theory that the alleged ECRA and regulatory violations were ultra vires. The district court denied the motion on the ground that Plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on this claim.   The DC Circuit affirmed. The court explained that to prevail on an ultra vires claim, Plaintiff must establish three things: “(i) the statutory preclusion of review is implied rather than express; (ii) there is no alternative procedure for review of the statutory claim; and (iii) the agency plainly acts in excess of its delegated powers and contrary to a specific prohibition in the statute that is clear and mandatory.   The court explained that the canons invoked by Plaintiffs can resolve statutory ambiguity in close cases, but they do not allow the court to discern any clear and mandatory prohibition on adding entities to the List for human-rights abuses, particularly given the breadth of section 4813(a)(16) and the deference owed to the Executive Branch in matters of foreign affairs. View "Changji Esquel Textile Co. Ltd. v. Gina Raimondo" on Justia Law

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Philips and Thales design and manufacture telecommunications equipment and related technologies, including those related to various generations of wireless networks. Philips and Thales have been engaged in negotiations over what Philips asserts are standard essential patents (SEPs) that Thales has implemented according to European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) specifications. After negotiations did not yield an agreed-upon fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) license for the SEPs, Philips filed an infringement and declaratory action against Thales in the District of Delaware and an International Trade Commission (ITC) action seeking an exclusion order. Thales filed a breach of contract counterclaim and declaratory counterclaim for a FRAND rate determination and moved for a preliminary injunction barring Philips from pursuing its ITC action.The Federal Circuit affirmed the denial of Thales’ motion. The district court did not clearly err in determining that Thales’ evidence of harm was conclusory and that it failed to meet its burden of establishing likely irreparable harm. Thales did not present any evidence that it lost customers, had customers delay purchases, or struggled to acquire new business because of the ongoing ITC proceedings. View "Koninklijke Philips N.V. v. Thales DIS AIS Deutschland GMBH" on Justia Law

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In its ninth administrative review of its antidumping order regarding certain steel nails from China, the Department of Commerce relied on adverse facts available (AFA) in calculating antidumping rates for two mandatory respondents. For Shandong, Commerce relied on total AFA to compute a rate of 118.04% because Shandong did not cooperate at all with Commerce’s investigation. For Dezhou, Commerce relied on partial AFA to compute a rate of 69.99% because it found that Dezhou’s supplier engaged in a fraudulent transshipment scheme and that this misconduct was attributable to Dezhou. Commerce then used those AFA-based rates to compute its all-others rate (the rate applied to all exporters of the subject merchandise who requested a separate rate but whom Commerce did not select as mandatory respondents).The Trade Court and Federal Circuit affirmed. During an initial investigation, Commerce must generally set the all-others rate equal to the weighted average of the mandatory respondents’ individual dumping margins, excluding any margins determined entirely on AFA, 19 U.S.C. 1673d(c)(5)(A); no such provision exists concerning administrative reviews. Commerce acted reasonably in adopting a new sampling methodology because it found that smaller exporters were behaving differently than larger exporters and that AFA-based margins yield an all-others rate representative of the exporters as a whole. View "Shanxi Hairui Trade Co., Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Lam began working at Springs as its senior manager of global trade in 2019. She learned that three of Springs’s manufacturing facilities in Mexico were inaccurately tracking import and export inventories because computer systems were not properly integrated. While attempting to resolve the issue, Lam came to believe that a product Springs imported (cellular fabric blankets) originated in China and not, as the supplier insisted, in Taiwan and Malaysia. Fabrics originating in China were subject to a 25 percent tariff. She claims that she repeatedly stated that the company would need to pay higher tariffs, was “angrily berated,” and was told to continue classifying the fabrics as Taiwanese and Malaysian. She was placed on a performance improvement plan that cited her failure to adequately address the inventory problem, her failure to supplement tariff concerns with a “risk assessment,” a “solution,” or a “process change,” her reliance on outside consultants; and her inability to communicate concisely.Law was ultimately fired and sued, alleging that Springs retaliated against her, in violation of the False Claims Act, over her opinion that the company owed the 25 percent tariff, 31 U.S.C. 3730(h). The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Springs. Springs’s conduct falls short of “harassment” under section 3730(h)(1); Lam has not established a connection between the tariff violations she reported and the decision to fire her. View "Lam-Quang-Vinh v. Springs Window Fashions, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Trade Expansion Act authorizes the President to adjust imports if he concurs with a determination by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce “that an article is being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security” and to “determine the nature and duration” of the corrective action, 19 U.S.C. 1862(c)(1)(A). In a 2018 report, the Secretary determined that excessive steel imports threatened to impair national security. The President concurred and issued proclamations that imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports from several countries.The Court of International Trade rejected arguments that the President’s and Secretary’s finding of a threat to national security and the President’s imposition of a tariff for an indefinite duration conflicted with the statute. The Federal Circuit affirmed. While claims that the President’s actions violated the statutory authority delegated by section 1862 are reviewable, the President cannot be sued directly to challenge his threat determination. The Secretary’s threat determination is a reviewable final action, as a predicate to the President’s authority, but is reviewable only for compliance with the statute and not under the arbitrary and capricious standard. The court rejected an argument that the President failed to satisfy 1862(c)(1)(A)'s “nature and duration” requirement." View "USP Holdings, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The second administrative review of an antidumping duty determination for large power transformers imported from the Republic of Korea, 19 U.S.C. 1675(a)(1)(b), was subject to four appeals to the Trade Court, with three remands to the Department of Commerce. The review concerned 19 U.S.C. 1677m(d), which requires Commerce to notify and permit a party to remedy or explain any deficiency in the information provided during an investigation. Commerce asserted that the statute did not apply and did not permit Hyundai to provide additional information relevant to Commerce’s change of methodology concerning normal value and sales price of service-related revenue. Commerce applied an adverse inference and partial facts available to increase the dumping margin.The Federal Circuit remanded for redetermination of the antidumping duty, based on the calculation of service-related revenue. Hyundai has the statutory right to correct the deficiencies that led to the application of adverse inferences and partial facts available. Before making adverse inference, Commerce must examine a respondent’s actions and assess the extent of the respondent’s abilities, efforts, and cooperation in responding to Commerce requests for information. The government does not assert that Hyundai withheld information, or committed any of the transgressions in section 1677e(a)(1) or (2) and relied on incomplete data to determine antidumping duties. View "Hitachi Energy USA, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In parallel antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of quartz surface products from China, the Department of Commerce amended the scope of its investigations to prevent producers and exporters in China from evading its orders by using glass in place of quartz. Bruskin challenged Commerce’s authority to modify the scope of the investigation and to do so without a hearing. Bruskin also challenged the factual findings that led Commerce to modify the scope of its investigations.The Trade Court and Federal Circuit affirmed. Commerce has the discretion to set the scope of its investigations. Bruskin’s hearing request was untimely, and substantial evidence supports Commerce’s factual findings. View "M S International, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Department of Commerce issued an antidumping duty order covering steel nails from Taiwan. The Federal Circuit remanded for further explanation of one aspect of the methodology Commerce had adopted to determine whether there was “a pattern of export prices . . . that differ significantly among purchasers, regions, or periods of time,” 19 U.S.C. 1677f-1(d)(1)(B)(i), The court stated that Commerce did not adequately explain why it was reasonable to use simple averaging.On remand, Commerce again used simple averaging for its version of a “Cohen’s d denominator.” The Trade Court affirmed. The Federal Circuit vacated, finding that the relevant statistical literature cited by Commerce uniformly uses weighted averaging in the Cohen’s d denominator calculation and that Commerce has not explained why the basic choice of weighted averaging of unequal-size groups fails to apply to this context. The literature nowhere suggests simple averaging for unequal-size groups. When the entire population is known, the literature points toward using the standard deviation of the entire population as the denominator in Cohen’s d—which Commerce has not done. Commerce’s job is not to follow a statistical test as explained in published literature for its own sake, but to implement the statutory mandate to determine when prices of certain groups “differ significantly.” View "Mid Continent Steel & Wire, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 1996, the Commerce Department made a preliminary determination that tomatoes were being, or were likely to be, sold in the U.S. at less than fair value. Exporters of fresh tomatoes from Mexico signed an agreement to sell their products in the U.S. at minimum “reference” prices; Commerce suspended the investigation. In 2019, Commerce withdrew from the Agreement and resumed the investigation. A new agreement suspended the investigation, set higher minimum reference prices, and described the dumping margin. Domestic tomato producers asked Commerce to continue the investigation, which it did, as required by statute. Commerce reached a final determination and calculated estimated dumping margins. An antidumping duty order has not been issued because the 2019 Agreement remains in effect. Three companies challenged Commerce’s termination of the 2013 Agreement, its continuation of the investigation, and final determination.The Trade Court dismissed, finding that claims regarding the termination of the 2013 Agreement became moot upon the execution of the 2019 Agreement, and claims regarding the final determination in the continued investigation were not ripe because before an antidumping duty order.The Federal Circuit found no plausible challenge to the termination of the 2013 Agreement. Reversing in part, the court concluded that the challenge to the final determination is justiciable under Article III. The Tariff Act of 1930 provides jurisdiction for the Trade Court to review the final determination even before an antidumping duty order has been published. View "Bioparques de Occidente, S.A. de C.V. v. United States" on Justia Law