Justia International Trade Opinion Summaries

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Reynolds filed a complaint at the International Trade Commission alleging that Philip Morris violated Section 337 of the Tariff Act, 19 U.S.C. 1337, through the importation and sale of tobacco products (the IQOS line of electronic nicotine delivery system products) that infringed certain claims of the 123 and 915 patents. The patents are directed to electrically powered “smoking articles” that heat tobacco instead of burning it, providing an inhalable substance in vapor or aerosol form. After an investigation, the Commission barred Philip Morris and its affiliates from importing products infringing the asserted patents.The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Commission satisfied its Section 337 duty to “consult with” the Department of Health and Human Services and asked interested government agencies, including the FDA, to provide written submissions on the public interest factor. The Commission provided a sufficient basis for the issuance of an exclusion order. Philip Morris’s argument that Reynolds’ products that had not received FDA authorization are precluded from consideration by Section 337 for purposes of its domestic industry requirement has no merit. The court also upheld findings of non-obviousness and infringement concerning the patents. View "Philip Morris Products S.A. v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law

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In 2017-2018, Borusan imported circular welded carbon steel pipes and tubes that were subject to decades-old antidumping duties. In 2018, Presidential Proclamation 9705 separately imposed a duty on imported steel articles (including Borusan’s carbon steel pipe) under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, 19 U.S.C. 1862. In the annual administrative review of the antidumping duties owed on Borusan’s imports for May 2017–April 2018, the Department of Commerce treated the Proclamation 9705 duty as a “United States import dut[y]” under 19 U.S.C. 1677a(c)(2)(A), resulting in higher antidumping duties for Borusan’s imports.The Court of International Trade and Federal Circuit affirmed. Commerce correctly determined that the particular duty imposed by Proclamation 9705 is a “United States import dut[y]” under 19 U.S.C. 1677a(c)(2)(A). Proclamation 9705 makes clear that the newly-imposed duty was to add to, not partly or wholly offset, the antidumping duties that would be due without the new duty The antidumping duty must be calculated as if the Proclamation 9705 duty did not exist. This treatment is not inconsistent with Commerce’s long-recognized categorical exclusion of antidumping duties themselves from classification as “United States import duties.” Antidumping duties cannot be subtracted in the calculation of dumping margins (and hence antidumping duties), because doing so would produce a spiraling circularity. View "Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Department of Commerce issued duty orders covering imports from China of “aluminum extrusions which are shapes and forms, produced by an extrusion process, made from” specified aluminum alloys; "parts for final finished products that are assembled after importation, including, but not limited to, window frames, door frames, solar panels, curtain walls, or furniture." The scope includes aluminum extrusion components that are attached (e.g., by welding or fasteners) to form subassemblies, i.e., partially assembled merchandise unless imported as part of the finished goods “kit.” The Orders exclude “finished merchandise containing aluminum extrusions as parts that are fully and permanently assembled and completed at the time of entry, such as finished windows with glass, doors with glass or vinyl, picture frames with glass pane and backing material, and solar panels and “finished goods containing aluminum extrusions that are entered unassembled in a ‘finished goods kit.’” A finished goods kit is a packaged combination of parts that contains, at the time of importation, all of the necessary parts to fully assemble a final finished good and requires no further finishing or fabrication, such as cutting or punching, and is assembled “as is” into a finished product.Commerce, the Trade Court, and the Federal Circuit concluded that CCM’s solar panel mounts are subject to the Orders. The mounts are not eligible for “finished merchandise” exclusion because the mounts are just one component of a downstream product—i.e., a solar panel mounting system. View "China Custom Manufacturing, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 2018, under the Trade Expansion Act, 19 U.S.C. 1862, the Secretary of Commerce reported to the President that steel imports threatened national security by contributing to unsustainably low use of domestic steel-producing capacity. The President, agreeing with the finding, issued Proclamation 9705, imposing higher tariffs on steel imports from certain countries but providing for monitoring and future adjustments. In 2020, the President issued Proclamation 9980, which, based on the required monitoring, raised tariffs on imports of steel derivatives such as nails and fasteners. The Trade Court held Proclamation 9980 to be unauthorized by the statute because the new derivatives tariffs were imposed after the passing of certain deadlines; within 90 days of receiving the Secretary’s report, the President must determine whether to concur in the finding and, if so, within the same 90 days “the President shall” also “determine the nature and duration of the action.”In the meantime, in another case, the Federal Circuit upheld a presidential proclamation that increased tariffs on steel beyond Proclamation 9705’s rate, concluding that when the President, within the Act’s time limits, adopts a plan that contemplates future contingency-dependent modifications, those time limits do not preclude the President from adding to the initial import impositions to help achieve the originally stated national-security objective if the underlying findings and objective have not grown stale.The Federal Circuit then upheld Proclamation 9980, reversing the Trade Court. The proclamation’s new imposition reaches imports that are within section 232’s authorization of presidential action based on the Secretary’s finding and there is no staleness or other persuasive reason for overriding the President’s judgment. View "PrimeSource Building Products, Inc.v, United States" on Justia Law

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Acquisition imported tires manufactured by Shandong from China. Shandong tires were subject to a countervailing duty order; Acquisition deposited estimated duties for the entries at the "all others" rate of 30.61%. Commerce initiated an administrative review of the duty order covering 2016 entries, instructing Customs to suspend the liquidation (final assessment of the duties owed) of entries under review. Before the review was completed, Shandong withdrew. Commerce ordered Customs to liquidate Shandong-manufactured entries imported in 2016. The Acquisition entries were liquidated with final duties assessed at 30.61%. Importers that wish to challenge the liquidation of their entries can file a protest within 180 days, 19 U.S.C. 1514(a)(5), (c)(3)(A). Acquisition did not do so. Commerce later set the final duty rates for the 2016 entries at 15.56% for “non-selected companies under review.” Acquisition then filed protests to Customs’ failure to refund the difference between the 30.61% rate and the 15.56% rate, arguing that Shandong was the same company as another company that had remained under review.Customs denied the protests as untimely. The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Acquisition’s subsequent complaint. The Trade court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Acquisition could have timely protested the liquidations of these entries on the theory that Customs had improperly liquidated them because the manufacturer of Acquisition’s goods was participating in an administrative review. View "Acquisition 362, LLC v. United States" on Justia Law

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MSI is a U.S. importer of QSPs–stone composite building materials, used primarily for countertops. Production of QSPs involves the creation of a QSP slab from raw materials and fabrication that transforms the slab into a finished product. Cambria, a domestic quartz slab producer, petitioned for the imposition of antidumping duties on QSPs from India. MSI challenged Cambria’s standing because Cambria failed to include QSP “fabricators” as domestic industry “producers” in its industry support calculation. “Domestic producers or workers” is defined as interested parties who are eligible to file a petition under 19 U.S.C. 1673a(b)(1)]. “Interested parties” include “a manufacturer, producer, or wholesaler in the United States of a domestic like product,” 19 U.S.C. 1677(9)(C). The terms “manufacturer, producer, or wholesaler” are not defined.The Department of Commerce found that “the fabrication process does not change the fundamental physical characteristics imparted during the slab production process,” and that “producers” did not include “fabricators.” The Trade Court and Federal Circuit affirmed, as supported by substantial evidence, Commerce’s interpretation of the term “producers” as an entity that requires a stake in the domestic industry and use of the sufficient production-related activities test to determine that the fabricators did not have a sufficient stake in the domestic industry to qualify as “producers.” View "Pokarna Engineered Stone Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought this putative class action against more than twenty banks and brokers, alleging a conspiracy to manipulate two benchmark rates known as Yen-LIBOR and Euroyen TIBOR. Plaintiff brought claims under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and sought leave to assert claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). The district court dismissed the CEA and antitrust claims and denied leave to add the RICO claims. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the district court erred by holding that the CEA claims were impermissibly extraterritorial, that he lacked antitrust standing to assert a Sherman Act claim, and that he failed to allege proximate causation for his proposed RICO claims.   The Second Circuit affirmed. The court explained that the conduct—i.e., that the bank defendants presented fraudulent submissions to an organization based in London that set a benchmark rate related to a foreign currency—occurred almost entirely overseas. Indeed, Plaintiff fails to allege any significant acts that took place in the United States. Plaintiff’s CEA claims are based predominantly on foreign conduct and are thus impermissibly extraterritorial. Further, the court wrote that the district court also correctly concluded that Plaintiff lacked antitrust standing because he would not be an efficient enforcer of the antitrust laws. Lastly, the court agreed that Plaintiff failed to allege proximate causation for his RICO claims. View "Laydon v. Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., et al." on Justia Law

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In the tenth administrative review of the antidumping order on steel nails from China, the U.S. Department of Commerce found that Pioneer did not cooperate to the best of its ability with Commerce’s request for information, Commerce applied adverse facts available (AFA) and assigned an antidumping margin of 118.04 percent to Pioneer. Following the 2013 third administrative review, Commerce had announced that “all other future respondents for this case report all FOPs [factors of production] data on a CONNUM-specific [control number] basis using all product characteristics in subsequent reviews, as documentation and data collection requirements should now be fully understood by [the particular respondent] and all other respondents.” CONNUM is Commerce jargon for a unique product.The Trade Court and the Federal Circuit affirmed. Commerce’s 2013 pronouncement reflects a statement of policy, not the agency’s explicit invocation of general legislative authority; the CONNUM-specific rule is not subject to notice-and-comment rulemaking under the APA. The use of the CONNUM rule is not inconsistent with 19 U.S.C. 1677b, concerning the calculation of the normal value of merchandise. Commerce determined that CONNUM-specific data is essential for the accurate calculation of costs due to the variations in the physical characteristics of the merchandise. Pioneer did not provide required answers, so the application of AFA was supported by substantial evidence. View "Xi’an Metals & Minerals Import & Export Co. Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In the 1990s, Aldossari’s company, Trans Gulf, entered into an agreement in Saudi Arabia with three other businesses to establish and operate an oil refinery in Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island nation. Crude oil was to be sourced from the Saudi government or its national oil company, Saudi Aramco. The project went forward, but, Aldossari alleged, the owners of the three contract counterparties – one of whom became the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia –refused to pay Trans Gulf its share of the proceeds. Two decades later, the soon-to-be Crown Prince promised to pay Aldossari but never did. Aldossari, transferred his rights to his minor son, a U.S. citizen.The federal district court dismissed Aldossari’s subsequent tort and contract claims. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that dismissal of the claims against a deceased defendant was proper because Aldossari failed to allege any basis for exercising subject-matter jurisdiction over those claims. As for the surviving defendants, the lack of any meaningful ties between those defendants and the United States in Aldossari’s claims defeats his effort to sue them in the U.S. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act precludes subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims against Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco. The case was remanded with directions to dismiss without prejudice since none of the dispositive rulings reach the merits. View "Aldossari v. Ripp" on Justia Law

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Domestic manufacturers or distributors who imported steel products subject to an ad valorem “national security” tariffs, 19 U.S.C. 1862, sought exclusions from the tariff. Domestic steel producers objected to those requests, asserting that “they could satisfactorily produce all of, or sufficient substitutes for, the material that was the subject of the exclusion requests.” The Department of Commerce denied the exclusion requests. The importers paid the duties and imported the steel products, then filed lawsuits, contending that Commerce failed to consider relevant evidence, failed to give adequate explanations, and in some instances considered legally irrelevant factors.Domestic producers, who had objected to the tariff exclusion requests before Commerce, moved to intervene as party defendants in the importers’ lawsuits. The Federal Circuit affirmed the Trade Court’s denial of intervention. Each of the proposed intervenors’ requested relief is largely identical to the government’s prayer for relief, so they have established “piggyback” standing but they did not identify a legally protectable interest to qualify as intervenors under Rule 24(a)(2). The court rejected arguments that participation in adversarial administrative proceedings bestows a Rule 24(a)(2) interest in the result, that actions to undo tariffs that specifically protect domestic producers give rise to economic interests, and that judgments removing tariff protection may practically impair the interests of direct beneficiaries of those tariffs. View "California Steel Industries, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law