On August 10th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) unanimously determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of unfairly traded imports of low melt polyester staple fiber (“PSF”) from Korea and Taiwan.  Low melt PSF is a synthetic (manmade) staple fiber, not carded, combed or otherwise processed for spinning, made entirely of polyester.  It can be used in nonwoven products for a broad spectrum of downstream industries, including automotive (door trim, dash pads, wheel guards, carpets, trunk and hood liners), industrial purposes (soundproofing and insulation for construction, water and air filtration), and hygienic products (wipes, diapers, sanitary and medical goods, etc.). 
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Last year, President Obama signed into law the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (“TFTEA”).  Section 421 of the TFTEA (commonly called the Enforce and Protect Act, or EAPA), establishes procedures for submitting and investigating allegations of evasion of antidumping and countervailing duties.

The statute encouraged a wide variety of stakeholders to participate in this new administrative process.  For example, the statute defined “interested parties” who may file an allegation of evasion to include foreign exporters and producers, importers, and domestic manufacturers and wholesalers, of products covered by antidumping and countervailing duty orders.  Indeed, interested parties on all sides of the trade equation who play by the rules have an incentive to participate in the CBP’s evasion investigations. 
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According to a White House Statement issued on June 26th, President Donald Trump intends to nominate two important trade positions within the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) and the International Trade Commission (“USITC”).

  • Peter B. Davidson, Senior Vice President for Congressional Relations at Verizon Communications, was selected by President Trump to be general counsel of Commerce.  Prior to Verizon, Mr. Davidson served as General Counsel to the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”).  He has also served as Vice President for Congressional Relations at USWEST and Qwest, and General Counsel and Policy Director to the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.  Mr. Davidson earned his bachelor’s degree at Carleton College, and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
  • Jason Kearns was selected to be a Commissioner of the USITC for the remainder of a 9 year term expiring December 16, 2024.  Mr. Kearns currently serves as Chief International Trade Counsel (Democratic Staff) to the Committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives.  In this position, Mr. Kearns advises Members of Congress on legislation concerning trade and oversight issues involving the USTR and other agencies involved in international trade policy and regulation.  Before that, he served for three years in the Office of the General Counsel to the USTR.  From 2000 through 2003, Mr. Kearns worked in the international trade group of the law firm, WilmerHale.  Kearns has a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver.


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Commerce Secretary Ross and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security held a public hearing on Thursday, June 22, 2017 in the ongoing Section 232 investigation into whether aluminum imports are a threat to U.S. national security.

Witness testimony covered several topics including the negative effects of China’s aluminum overcapacity, the coverage and

Commissioner F. Scott Kieff has announced that he will leave the ITC at the end of this month to return to his positions at the George Washington University School of Law and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.  Commissioner Kieff’s last day at the ITC will be June 30, 2017.  Kieff has served as an ITC Commissioner

On June 2nd, the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) voted to continue the antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on cold-drawn mechanical tubing from China, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, and Switzerland.  The ITC’s preliminary vote finding a reasonable indication that the domestic industry is material injured by reason of imports from the six countries was unanimous.  As a result of the affirmative preliminary injury finding, the Commerce Department will continue its respective investigations to determine whether cold-drawn mechanical tubing from each of the six countries is being unfairly subsidized and/or sold at less than fair value.  The petitions for trade relief, filed on April 19th, allege margins of dumping that range from the double digits to the triple digits for certain countries, including China, Germany, and Switzerland.  The countervailing duty petitions for China and India identify numerous subsidy programs including, for example, export loans, credit and insurance at preferential rates, preferential tax treatment, and government grants.  The ITC and Commerce Department are expected to issue their final determinations by or before early next year. 
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The Commerce Department has signaled that it will issue findings in its respective “Section 232” investigations covering imports of steel and aluminum before the end of June.  Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. § 1862) grants the U.S. Department of Commerce the authority to conduct an investigation to determine whether imports of particular merchandise threaten the national security.  The Commerce Department then issues its findings, along with a recommendation for action, to the President.  A conclusion that imports of steel or aluminum threaten the national security allows the President to decide whether to adjust or modify the volumes or prices of imports of foreign-made steel or aluminum into the United States. 
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On May 25th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) reached an affirmative preliminary determination, finding that the there is a reasonable indication that domestic industry producing tool chests and cabinets have been injured by unfairly traded imports from China and Vietnam.  Tool chests and cabinets are metal tool storage units, with two or more drawers, typically used by consumers in homes and garages.  As retail products, tool chests and cabinets can generally be purchased at home improvement stores (Lowe’s, Home Depo), department stores (Sears), and other big box retailers (Wal-Mart).  Only two companies – Waterloo Industries Inc. (Sedalia, MO) and Metal Box International (Franklin Park, IL) – continue to produce tool chests and cabinets in the United States.  Kelley Drye represents petitioner Waterloo Industries in this case.

The petition prepared by Kelley Drye, filed on April 11th, alleged that subject imports – at dumping margins of 58.2 (Vietnam) and 167.5 (China) – were able to penetrate the U.S. market and capture an increasing share of the U.S. market by significantly undercutting U.S. prices.  The petition also alleged that as a result of increasing and low-priced imports, the domestic industry has suffered significant declines in production, shipments, prices, and profits.  The ITC held a public preliminary conference on May 2nd to hear testimony from domestic industry, foreign producer, and U.S. importer parties in the investigation.  Based on witness testimony, post-conference briefs, and the data obtained in the case, the Commissioners reached a unanimous affirmative preliminary injury determination.  It will be a couple more weeks until the written views of the Commission on the issues in the case are released to the public.
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On May 23, 2017, pursuant to a petition filed on behalf of Suniva, Inc., (“Suniva”) the U.S. International Trade Commission (the “Commission”) initiation a Section 201 safeguard investigation on crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and modules.  Unlike antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, Section 201 investigations provide domestic industries relief from fairly-traded imports that are being “imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury, or the threat thereof,” to the domestic industry producing an article that is “like or directly competitive with the imported article.”

A second U.S. producer, SolarWorld Americas Inc., (“SolarWorld”) and the Petitioner in several antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of solar cells and modules from China and Taiwan, recently expressed support for the petition by joining Suniva as a co-petitioner.
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