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On June 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (“Commerce”) Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) published notice in the Federal Register of its initiation of an investigation to determine whether imports of vanadium threaten to impair the national security.  According to a press release, Commerce is initiating the investigation based on a petition filed on November 19, 2019 by two U.S. producers of vanadium — AMG Vanadium LLC, and U.S. Vanadium LLC.

Vanadium is a metallic element often used as an alloying agent in the production of steel and other metals.  It is used to improve the resulting metal’s hardness, ductility, and toughness. Typical end uses for vanadium-alloyed steels include armor plates, parts of jet engines, and cutting tools.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, vanadium is mined mostly in Brazil, China, Russia, and South Africa.  Vanadium can also be produced through a secondary process.  This source also indicates that from 2015-2018, U.S. demand was supplied 100 percent by imports.
Continue Reading Commerce Department Set to Investigate Whether Imports of Vanadium Threaten to Impair National Security

Yesterday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“USITC”) released a report on imports of products known to be related to the response to COVID-19.  The report was requested by Congressman Richard E. Neal, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance in early

On February 27, 2020, President Trump announced that he would not impose duties on imports of titanium sponge pursuant to his authority under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, a statute that allows for the imposition of duties where imports threaten to impair the national security.  The decision was well-received by much

Late last Friday evening, President Trump issued a proclamation imposing duties on imports of certain derivatives of steel and aluminum articles that have been found to threaten the national security.  The proclamation specifically identified products that were subject to the new duties (effective February 8, 2020), but it was unclear whether two yet-to-be-released Annexes would

On Friday, January 24, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation expanding duties imposed on steel and aluminum articles pursuant to Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, commonly referred to as “Section 232 duties,” to certain downstream steel and aluminum “derivatives.”

Application of 232 duties to “derivative articles” is authorized by statute.  Indeed, while the

On November 7, the United States Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released a report assessing actions the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) have taken to address weaknesses in the process for collecting antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing (“CV”) duties.

The report noted the following facts:

  • For bills issued in fiscal years 2001 – 2018, CBP collected over $20 billion in uncollected AD/CV duties.
  • For bills issued over the same period, $4.5 billion in AD/CV duties remained uncollected as of May 2019.
  • Only 20 importers accounted for $1.93 billion (or 43.3 percent) of the $4.5 billion in AD/CV duties with the remaining $2.52 billion (or 56.7 percent) in uncollected duties accounted for by 1,118 importers.

The report also notes that one cause for concern at Commerce is the significantly increased workload, with a lack of corresponding increase in staff.  The report explains that from fiscal years 2012 to 2018, the total number of AD/CV duty orders enforced by Commerce has increased from 280 to 457, with the number of case analysts increasing only from 118 to 127.  Commerce has sought to address the increased workloads by implementing a variety of internal procedures and establishing a training unit.

CBP has also undertaken variety of measures to address uncollected duties.  Perhaps most interesting is CBP’s use of new statistical models to identify key risk factors associated with nonpayment.  As noted above, with only 20 importers accounting for more than 43 percent of the value of billed but uncollected duties, identifying high risk importers would appear to be a prudent step.

The report also identified the United States’ retrospective system of duty assessment as one factor contributing to complexities in duty collection faced by both agencies.  The retrospective system is widely viewed as a net positive, however, which leads to more accurate duty assessment over time.  The report concludes that while the two agencies have undertaken measures to address weaknesses in the process for collecting duties, more can be done.
Continue Reading GAO Report Reveals Deficiencies in Process for Collecting Antidumping and Countervailing Duties

The Enforce and Protect Act (“EAPA”), signed into law as part of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, established procedures for a wide variety of stakeholders to submit allegations of evasion of antidumping and countervailing duties to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”).  After several years, it appears this new tool for addressing evasion of duties has started to take off.

CBP’s Trade and Travel Report for Fiscal Year 2018 relates a significant uptick in the agency’s investigative work stemming from EAPA allegations.  In particular, CBP received nearly double the allegations in fiscal year 2018 that it received in fiscal year 2017.  The agency also issued final determinations in 12 investigations, up from only 1 the year before.  Despite the uptick in work, CBP touts having “met every statutory deadline for all EAPA investigations,” even rendering decisions ahead of statutory deadlines in some cases, and proclaims that this process has “proven to be a success{}.”  CBP’s bullish outlook should encourage even more stakeholders to come forward with allegations and to participate in the process.
Continue Reading AD/CVD Evasion Enforcement Uptick in 2018

Last April, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) initiated an investigation to enforce U.S. rights stemming from a World Trade Organization (“WTO”) ruling concerning the European Union’s (“EU”) provision of illegal subsidies on the manufacture of large civil aircraft.

In the notice initiating that investigation, USTR proposed imposing additional ad valorem duties of up to

Following President Trump’s announcement of his decision to delay the March 1, 2019 deadline to increase tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods (i.e., List 3 items), Ambassador Lighthizer testified before the House Ways and Means Committee about the progress that has been made on concluding a binding executive agreement with