Last week, the Department of Commerce (the “Department”) initiated two new Section 232 proceedings on mobile cranes and electrical transformer components. Section 232, a previously seldom used section of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, is used to investigate the impact of certain imports on national security and provide relief if those imports threaten to impair U.S. national security. During the Trump Administration, Section 232 has been used to investigate imports of steel, aluminum, automobiles (and parts), titanium sponge, and uranium. Under Section 232, President Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The investigation on electrical transformer components will cover laminations for stacked cores for incorporation into transformers, stacked and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators. Transformers are an essential part of the U.S. energy infrastructure. The Department’s press release notes that “[a]n assured domestic supply of these products enables the United States to respond to large power disruptions affecting civilian populations, critical infrastructure, and U.S. defense industrial production capabilities.” Several members of Congress had previously urged the Administration to initiate proceedings.

The investigation on mobile cranes follows a petition filed by domestic producer The Manitowoc Company, Inc. (“Manitowoc”), according to the Department’s press release. That petition, filed in December, alleges that “increased
Continue Reading Commerce Launches 232 Investigations on Transformer Components and Mobile Cranes

On October 18, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce published its preliminary determination that two Indian bar producers, Viraj Profiles Ltd. (“Viraj”) and the Venus Group (Venus Wire Industries Pvt. Ltd. and its affiliates Hindustan Inox Ltd., Precision Metals and Sieve Manufacturers (India) Pvt. Ltd.), have resumed dumping stainless steel bar into the U.S. market and that both companies should be reinstated back under the existing antidumping duty order on stainless steel bar from India. 
Continue Reading India Stainless Steel Bar:  Commerce Reinstates Viraj and Venus Back Under Antidumping Duty Order

On September 12th, the Commerce Department announced preliminary subsidy rates in its countervailing duty (“CVD”) investigation of certain tool chests and cabinets from China.  The rates calculated for the two examined Chinese producers and most other Chinese producers/exporters range from 17.32 to 32.07 percent.  See the Fact Sheet here.

In addition, thirty-one Chinese companies that failed to respond to Commerce’s initial inquiries received a “total” adverse rate of 112.99 percent.   The scope of this investigation, which Commerce modified based on petitioner’s recommendations, covers certain metal tool chests and tool cabinets, with drawers, (tool chests and cabinets), from China.  As a result of Commerce’s preliminary determination, imports of covered tool chests and cabinets from China that enter the United States will be subject to cash deposits consistent with the preliminary subsidy rates. 
Continue Reading Commerce Announces Preliminary Subsidy Margins on Certain Tool Chests and Cabinets from China

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.). 
Continue Reading Preliminary Affirmative Determination in Low Melt Polyester Staple Fiber from Korea and Taiwan

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis has released the 2016 figures in their data series on foreign direct investment in U.S. Businesses. This series allows businesses, researchers, and policy makers to gain insights into recent trends in foreign investment. Investments and the employment generated, are broken down by country of origin, industry type, and location of businesses in which the investments were made.  The data are further broken down by whether the investment involves acquisition, establishment, or expansion of a business.
Continue Reading Manufacturing Sector Leads Foreign Direct Investment in U.S., According to New Commerce Report

On Friday June 30, Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, and Director of OMB, Mick Mulvaney, released a memorandum providing guidance to executive departments and agencies that must, pursuant to the directives of President Trump’s April 18th Executive Order entitled “Buy American and Hire American,” undertake an analysis of their administration of applicable Buy American laws.

The memo directs agency chiefs to submit to the Commerce Department and OMB a report that details their assessment of the implementation of Buy American Laws within their agencies by September 15th in compliance with the executive order’s section 3.
Continue Reading Commerce and OMB Issue ‘Buy American’ Guidance to Federal Agencies

If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the blockade of Qatar imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries in the region.  Many of you are likely trying to deal with the implications of the blockade, altering routes of goods shipped via sea and air in the region (maybe you are airlifting cows into Doha).   One question that keeps coming up – from clients and by trade pundits – is whether U.S. companies can comply with the blockade or whether such compliance would constitute a violation of the U.S. anti-boycott rules.

Continue Reading Do the U.S. Antiboycott Rules Apply to the Blockade of Qatar?

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. 
Continue Reading Commerce Department Signals that Findings in Section 232 Investigations on Steel and Aluminum are Imminent