Antidumping/Countervailing Duties

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.
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On November 1, 2019, the World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized China to suspend $3.579 billion in trade concessions to the United States, roughly half the $7 billion amount China had requested. The Arbitrator’s Decision stems from a complaint originally lodged by China in 2013 regarding the use of certain methodologies in antidumping investigations on Chinese

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on Wednesday that it is self-initiating an inquiry into whether U.S. imports of corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia, South Africa, or the United Arab Emirates using hot-rolled or cold-rolled substrate from China and Taiwan are circumventing existing antidumping (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties.  This is

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.
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Today Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published an updated version of its “Guidance for Reimbursement Certificates”; see https://www.cbp.gov/document/guidance/guidance-reimbursement-certificates.

In the memorandum, CBP reminds the public that regulations by the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) require that importers must file a certificate advising whether the importer has entered into an agreement, or otherwise has received reimbursement of AD duties, prior to liquidation of the entry.

Failure to file reimbursement certificates (stating that importer was not reimbursed) may double importer’s antidumping duties upon liquidation.  CBP’s memorandum offers specifics on how to file the certificates and includes an example of a blanket reimbursement form.

The memo also outlines procedures for filing in ACE and ACS.  Although CBP will accept paper reimbursement certificates, it is encouraging importers to file electronically.

CBP addresses other guidelines for filing reimbursement certificates, including the following:
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On May 17, the ITC voted unanimously that dumped imports of cold-drawn mechanical tubing from China, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, and Switzerland are a cause of material injury to the domestic industry.  This vote follows the Commerce Department’s final determinations that imports from producers and exporters in these six countries are being dumped in the

The grain industry is reacting to the “temporary” Chinese preliminary antidumping duty of 178.6% on sorghum shipped from the United States, announced April 17, 2018. Reuters reported that Chinese importers of sorghum, a grain used to create ethanol and feed livestock, have asked the government in Beijing to waive the duties.  After the duties were announced, nearly two dozen ships carrying American sorghum changed course, opting instead for ports in Japan, Saudi Arabia, the Canary Islands, and the Philippines to mitigate losses.  China is now importing relatively large quantities of barley as livestock feed and the Chinese importers who did receive sorghum shipments are selling that grain at an extreme discount in an effort to avoid the duty deposit.

The investigation into U.S. sorghum, initiated in February, found that U.S. exports to China increased over the last several years while prices fell and harmed China’s domestic industry.  The National Sorghum Producers, an industry group in the United States, insists that the product is neither dumped nor injurious to the Chinese industry.  The National Sorghum Producers also state that they fully cooperated with the Chinese government in the course of the short investigation, at the end of which adverse facts available were applied to result in the high margin. 
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On February 14, Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Richard Burr (R-NC) jointly introduced the S. 2427, the Self-Initiations Trade Enforcement Act.  If enacted, the legislation would give the Department of Commerce greater leniency to self-initiate investigations of unfair trade practices that harm U.S.  producers by creating a permanent taskforce at the International Trade

On Friday, February 16, 2018, Secretary Ross released public versions of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s reports concerning the agency’s section 232 investigations into the impact on national security of steel and aluminum imports. As a result of its investigations, the Department of Commerce has determined that imports of steel and aluminum “threaten to impair the national security.”

The Secretary’s press release presents the agency’s key findings and lists the agency’s various recommended remedies.  With respect to steel imports, the Department of Commerce recommends three alternative options to the President:

  1. A global tariff of at least 24% on all steel imports from all countries, or
  2. A tariff of at least 53% on all steel imports from 12 countries (Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam) with a quota by product on steel imports from all other countries equal to 100% of their 2017 exports to the United States, or
  3. A quota on all steel products from all countries equal to 63% of each country’s 2017 exports to the United States.

With respect to aluminum imports, the Department of Commerce recommends three alternative options to the President:
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On January 12, 2018, Australia brought a historical first WTO trade dispute against Canada.  The request for consultations alleges that the Canadian Government and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia (“B.C.”), Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia discriminated against imported Australian wine by maintaining discriminatory trade measures governing  the sale of wine.  The alleged discriminatory measures include:  distribution areas, licensing and sales measures (i.e., product mark-ups), market access and listing policies, and duties and taxes applied at the federal and provincial level. Pursuant to WTO rules, the parties have 60 days to settle the dispute after which time Australia may request adjudication before a WTO panel.

Australian exports of bottled wine to Canada declined by nearly  half between 2007 and 2016.  Australia Trade Minister Steven Ciobo discussed the request for consultations and Australian wine
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