WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce on Thursday announced changes aimed at improving the administration and enforcement of antidumping and countervailing duty regulations.
The DOC said that, if adopted, the changes would help it fulfill the Congressional intent of the laws, which are aimed to protect workers and companies facing injury from unfairly priced imports/and or the subsidization of manufacturers by foreign governments.
The antidumping rules address the pricing of finished goods coming into the U.S. market, while the countervailing duties address the subsidization of foreign manufacturers by their respective governments.
“If adopted these changes would promote the administration’s objective to enforce the AD/CVD laws rigorously and to aggressively pursue parties that seek to skirt them,” the DOC said. “Moreover, the proposed regulations facilitate a stronger and more efficient administration of the AD and CVD laws in the context of Commerce’s proceedings.”
The major changes are as follows:
- Modify section 351.203 to establish a deadline for parties to file comments on industry support. Currently, comments on industry support may be filed up to and including the scheduled date of an initiation determination, leaving the DOC little or no time to consider fully such comments when determining if a petition has sufficient industry support. The DOC said such modifications are necessary to enhance its “ability to consider and act upon such comments in a timely manner.”
- Revise numerous provisions to section 351.214 concerning new shipper reviews. This would address concerns regarding alleged abuse of those procedures and ensure that the sales being reviewed are, in fact, bona fide sales. The DOC said these changes are necessary to conform the regulation to recent statutory changes and to ensure Commerce utilizes its limited resources on new shipper reviews only where warranted.
- Revise numerous provisions to section 351.225 concerning scope inquiries by adopting new procedures to “preserve resources, expedite deadlines, and remove unnecessary and burdensome notice and service requirements.” These revisions also clarify and codify the substantive basis for the DOC’s scope rulings pertaining to country of origin, scope language interpretation, and “mixed-media” products, which incorporate subject merchandise in some form, in light of past practice and various court decisions. These revisions also aim to ensure that AD/CVD duties are appropriately applied to products determined to be subject to the scope of the order.
- Modify section 351.402 regarding importer certifications for the payment or reimbursement of AD/CVD duties on entries subject to AD orders to account for updated procedures.
The rules would also adopt new provisions that are as follows:
- Adopt new section 351.226 concerning circumvention inquiries, which largely mirrors the proposed scope procedures. These provisions also clarify Commerce’s authority to self-initiate circumvention inquiries and apply circumvention determinations on a “country-wide” basis.
- Adopt new section 351.227 concerning “covered merchandise referrals” from CBP under section 517 of the Act. This largely mirrors the proposed scope and circumvention procedures and allows the DOC “maximum flexibility” to further develop its procedures and practice as it gains more experience in this new area of the law.
- Adopt new section 351.228, which is specifically targeted at improving enforcement of AD and CVD orders and ensuring the effectiveness of those orders. Under new section 351.228, the DOC may impose a certification requirement on an importer or another interested party to “further ensure that entries of merchandise subject to an AD/CVD order are appropriately classified as subject merchandise.”
- Adopt necessary changes, consistent with certain substantive proposed rules discussed above, to two procedural provisions: “Section 351.103(d)(1) pertaining to letters of appearance and public service lists, and section 351.305(d) pertaining to importer filing requirements for access to business proprietary information in Commerce’s proceedings.”
A public comment period on the changes ends on Sept. 14. For more a more detailed explanation on each of the changes and information on how to submit comments or reaction, click here.
I’m Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.