Justia International Trade Opinion Summaries

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Importation of diamond sawblades from China is governed by an antidumping duty order, 19 U.S.C. 1673. In an administrative review of duties owed on subject merchandise sold to unaffiliated U.S. purchasers in 2014-2015, the Department of Commerce investigated the dumping margin of Bosun, which sends its imports to one of its two U.S. importer-affiliates for sale to unaffiliated U.S. purchasers. The other importer-affiliate imports diamond sawblades from a Bosun entity in Thailand. The importer-affiliates trade between themselves. Bosun’s affiliates did not record the country of origin on each sale. Bosun supplied country-of-origin information from three sources: the country-specific product code for some products; the unit price (which allowed origin identification for some products); and, for the remainder, an inference based on the first-in, first-out, (FIFO) premise. Commerce found the information sufficiently verified. On remand from the Trade Court, Commerce used “facts otherwise available” under 19 U.S.C. 1677e(a), and drew adverse inferences as to the totality of Bosun-sawblade sales.The Federal Circuit remanded. Commerce may have applied section 1677e(a) too broadly by disregarding all of Bosun’s country-of-origin information. The errors Commerce identified in Bosun’s information are apparently limited in their reliability-undermining effect to a defined subset of sawblades, whose origin Bosun identified only through the FIFO-inference. If the unreliable information is confined to some or all sawblades within that defined subset, there is no substantial evidence to support Commerce’s determination that all of the Bosun-supplied origin information was unreliable. View "Diamond Sawblades Manufacturers' Commission v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued antidumping and countervailing duty orders on aluminum extrusions from China. In 2016, Commerce initiated an anti-circumvention inquiry concerning heat-treated 5050-grade extruded aluminum products exported by Zhongwang and its affiliates and announced in its Preliminary Determination that it was applying the anticircumvention inquiry to all heat-treated 5050-grade extruded aluminum products from China, including those of Tai-Ao and Regal, finding that all such products were circumventing the Orders. Commerce instructed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of all heat-treated 5050-grade extruded aluminum products from China entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, on or after March 21, 2016, the date that the original inquiry was commenced.The Court of International Trade found that Commerce did not provide adequate notice to Tai-Ao and Regal that their products were subject to the inquiry and “liquidation should have been suspended from the date of the Preliminary Determination,” November 14, 2016. On remand, Commerce instructed Customs to exclude from the scope of the Orders and from duty assessment, entries for Tai-Ao made between March 21, 2016, and November 13, 2016. The Trade Court and Federal Circuit sustained Commerce’s reformulated liquidation instructions. Because Commerce did not provide adequate notice to Tai-Ao and Regal until November 2016, Commerce’s instructions to suspend liquidation effective March 21, 2016, were not lawful. View "Tai-Ao Aluminum (Taishan) Co., Ltd v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Department of Commerce initiated an antidumping duty investigation into certain carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate from France. Commerce chose Dillinger, a European producer of cut-to-length plate, as one of the mandatory importer respondents and assigned Dillinger a 6.15% antidumping margin. The Trade Court initially sustained most of Commerce’s determination but remanded certain issues to Commerce. The Trade Court then sustained Commerce’s remand results and the 6.15 percent duty.The Federal Circuit vacated in part. In calculating normal value, Commerce improperly allocated costs between Dillinger’s non-prime and prime products based on Dillinger’s books and records, which allocate cost based on likely selling price rather than actual cost; Dillinger’s books and records did not reasonably reflect the costs associated with the production and sale of the merchandise as required by 19 U.S.C. 1677b(f). Affirming in part, the court found that Dillinger has not shown how Commerce failed to use “comparable merchandise” in using the average-to-transaction method to determine the dumping margin. Nor did Commerce err in determining that Dillinger’s factory sales and sales from its affiliated service centers constituted a single level of trade in France and thus concluding that a level of trade adjustment was not warranted. View "Dillinger France S.A. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Department of Commerce issued an antidumping order, 19 U.S.C. 1673(d)–(e), on steel threaded rod (STR) from China, describing the physical characteristics of the STR, including shape, finish, construction, and metallurgical requirements. Commerce prescribed several exclusions for merchandise that would otherwise meet the order’s “description.” None of these exclusions relate to mixed media items. Star Pipe requested a scope ruling to clarify whether its Joint Restraint Kits are within the scope of the Order. The Kits consist of a combination of castings, bolts, bolt nuts, washers, and STR components, which Star conceded “if imported alone, would be covered" under the Order. Star argued the STR components were merely incidental components used to secure the castings. Commerce found nothing in the STR Order or its history indicating that otherwise-subject merchandise should be treated differently due to its packaging with other merchandise.The Trade Court and Federal Circuit upheld Commerce’s ruling. Star’s STR components are within the literal scope of the STR Order. If the order’s language and history do not establish that subject merchandise should be treated differently on the basis of its inclusion within a mixed media set, then “a presumption arises that the included merchandise is subject to the order.” The court rejected a challenge to Commerce’s liquidation instruction as moot because Star is not at risk of any assessment of duties on the entries at issue. View "Star Pipe Products v. United States" on Justia Law

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The U.S. Court of International Trade affirmed the Department of Commerce’s final affirmative determination in the countervailing duty investigation on cold-rolled steel flat products from the Republic of Korea. Commerce determined that the Korean government provided the respondents no financial assistance “because the prices charged to these respondents under the applicable industrial tariff were consistent with KEPCO’s [Korea Electric Power Corporation] standard pricing mechanism.” KEPCO is the state-owned sole provider of electricity in Korea. Commerce found no evidence suggesting that that the respondents received preferential treatment over other industrial users of electricity that purchase comparable amounts of electricity. Commerce did not review quality, availability, marketability, transportation, or other conditions affecting KEPCO’s purchase or sale of electricity.The Federal Circuit vacated. The 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act, 19 U.S.C. 3511, changed the definition of what constitutes a benefit conferred. Commerce’s reliance on a preferential-rate standard is inconsistent with the statute, particularly the less-than-adequate-remuneration requirement, and is therefore contrary to law. Commerce’s cost-recovery analysis was limited to discussion of KEPCO’s costs. That limited analysis does not support its conclusion that electricity prices paid to KEPCO by respondents are consistent with prevailing market conditions because Commerce failed to evaluate the Korea Power Exchange’s impact on the Korean electricity market. View "Posco v. United States" on Justia Law

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Trina challenged the Department of Commerce’s final results in the first administrative review of the antidumping duty order, 19 U.S.C. 1673(1), covering certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic products from China. SolarWorld, a domestic producer of like products, participated as a petitioner and defendant-intervenor.The Trade Court remanded Commerce’s decision not to offset Trina’s export price by a countervailed export subsidy as “contrary to law.” Commerce issued its remand redetermination, recalculating Trina’s export price accordingly, under protest. The Trade Court sustained Commerce’s Remand Redetermination. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Commerce’s decision to not increase Trina’s export price by the amount countervailed for the Ex-Im Bank Buyer’s Credit Program is contrary to law. Ex-Im Bank provides loans at preferential rates for the purchase of exported goods from China. Where merchandise is subject to both anti-dumping and countervailing duties during the period of review, Commerce “shall,” when calculating an antidumping duty rate, increase the respondent’s “export price” or “constructed export price” by “the amount of any countervailing duty imposed . . . to offset an export subsidy.” Substantial evidence supports Commerce’s decision to value Trina’s module glass using Thai imports of tempered glass. View "Changzhou Trina Solar Energy v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Department of Commerce imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties, 19 U.S.C. 1671, 1673, on imports of certain steel nails from India, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Oman, Taiwan, Turkey, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, covering certain steel nails. OMG, imports zinc masonry anchors from Vietnam that consist of a zinc alloy body and a zinc-plated steel pin. The anchors are designed to attach termination bars to concrete or masonry walls. The anchor is inserted into q predrilled hole and “tap[ped] lightly” with a hammer “until [the] head of [the] anchor body is set gently against the termination bar.” To complete installation, the hammer is used to drive the head of the steel pin flush with the head of the anchor body, thereby expanding the anchor body in the predrilled hole to fix the anchor in place.Commerce determined that OMG’s anchors were within the scope of the Orders. The Trade Court reasoned that OMG’s anchors are unambiguously outside the scope of the Orders because they are not nails within the plain meaning of the word. On remand, Commerce found that OMG’s zinc anchors fall outside the scope of the Orders, but issued its redetermination under protest The Federal Circuit affirmed, finding OMG’s anchors are unambiguously outside the scope of the Orders View "OMG, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The 850 patent discloses a self-anchoring beverage container that prevents spills by anchoring the container to a surface. An International Trade Commission complaint, against several respondents (including Mayborn) alleged infringement of the patent and sought a general exclusion order (GEO) barring importation of infringing goods by any party. An ALJ determined that remaining respondents—those with whom the Complainants had not settled—were in default and infringed claim 1 of the patent. The defaulting respondents did not raise invalidity challenges. The ALJ recommended a GEO because it was difficult to gain information about entities selling the containers, and numerous entities were importing the containers, making it “nearly impossible to identify the sources.” The Commission issued the GEO in 2018. Mayborn took no action during the proceedings.In 2019, the Complainants notified Mayborn and its retail partners that Mayborn’s products infringed the patent in violation of the GEO. Mayborn petitioned the Commission to rescind its GEO under 19 U.S.C. 1337(k)(1), which allows the Commission to rescind or modify an order if “the conditions which led to such ... order no longer exist.” Mayborn argued that this requirement was satisfied because claim 1 of the patent was invalid under 35 U.S.C. 102, 103. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Commission’s denial of Mayborn’s petition. The asserted discovery of invalidating prior art after the issuance of a GEO is not a changed condition. View "Mayborn Group, Ltd. v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law

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In 2015, AK Steel filed a petition with the Department of Commerce, seeking an antidumping duty investigation, 19 U.S.C. 1673, covering corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) from Taiwan. Commerce instituted an investigation and selected as mandatory respondents the two largest exporters of CORE from Taiwan, Prosperity and Yieh. Those entities disclosed that they were affiliated with a third company, Synn. Commerce decided to “collapse” all three entities The purpose of collapsing multiple entities into a single entity is to prevent affiliated entities from circumventing antidumping duties by “channel[ing] production of subject merchandise through the affiliate with the lowest potential dumping margin.” Under 19 C.F.R. 351.401(f) the entities must be “affiliated” and must have “production facilities for similar or identical products that would not require substantial retooling of either facility in order to restructure manufacturing priorities”; and Commerce must find “a significant potential for the manipulation of price or production.” Commerce found significant potential for manipulation between Prosperity and Synn.The Federal Circuit vacated Commerce's decision. Commerce acted contrary to law when it collapsed Prosperity, Yieh, and Synn without considering section 351.401(f)'s factors as between the relationships of Prosperity and Yieh or between Prosperity and Yieh/Synn. Commerce must consider the “totality of the circumstances” between all entities. View "Prosperity Tieh Enterprise Co., Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified Apple’s iPad 2 Smart Cover model number MC939LL/A, under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) Subheading 6307.90.98, covering “Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other” at a duty rate of 7 percent. Apple argued that the Smart Cover is properly classified under HTSUS Subheading 8473.30.51, covering “Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of headings 8469 to 8472: Parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471: Other,” duty-free.The government argued that Apple’s subject merchandise is properly classified under HTSUS Subheading 3926.90.99, covering “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: Other,” at a duty rate of 5.3 percent ad valorem. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Trade Court’s ruling in favor of the government. Apple’s Smart Cover is composed of various materials including “microfiber lining” and a “plastic outer layer” and otherwise unclassifiable composite goods must be “classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The Smart Cover’s plastic outer layer provides its essential character. View "Apple Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law