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U.S. Department of Commerce Initiates Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Investigations of Imports of Ceramic Tile from China - U.S. Department of Commerce

Today (5/1/19), the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the initiation of new antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations to determine whether ceramic tile from China is being dumped in the United States and to determine if producers in China are receiving unfair subsidies.

These antidumping and countervailing duty investigations were initiated based on petitions filed by the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile on April 10, 2019. The members of the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile are American Wonder Porcelain (Lebanon, TN), Crossville, Inc. (Crossville, TN), Dal-Tile Corporation (Dallas, TX), Del Conca USA, Inc. (Loudon, TN), Florida Tile, Inc. (Lexington, KY), Florim USA (Clarksville, TN), Landmark Ceramics (Mount Pleasant, TN), and StonePeak Ceramics (Chicago, IL).

The alleged dumping margins for China range from 127.33 to 356.02 percent.

There are 45 subsidy programs alleged in the China countervailing duty investigation, including lending programs, tax programs, and grant programs, in addition to provision of inputs, services, and land for less than adequate remuneration programs.

If Commerce makes affirmative findings in these investigations, and if the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) determines that dumped and/or unfairly subsidized U.S. imports of ceramic tile from China are causing injury to the U.S. industry, Commerce will impose duties on those imports in the amount of dumping and/or unfair subsidization found to exist.

In 2018, imports of ceramic tile from China were valued at an estimated $483.1 million.

Click HERE for a fact sheet on these initiations.

Next Steps:

During Commerce’s investigations into whether ceramic tile from China is being dumped and/or unfairly subsidized, the ITC will conduct its own investigations into whether the U.S. industry and its workforce are being harmed by such imports. The ITC will make its preliminary determinations on or before May 28, 2019. If the ITC preliminarily determines that there is injury or threat of injury, then Commerce’s investigations will continue, with the preliminary CVD determination scheduled for July 5, 2019, and the preliminary AD determination scheduled for September 17, 2019, unless these deadlines are extended.

If Commerce preliminarily determines that dumping and/or unfair subsidization is occurring, then it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to start collecting cash deposits from all U.S. companies importing ceramic tile from China.

Final determinations by Commerce in these cases are scheduled for September 18, 2019, for the CVD investigation, and December 2, 2019, for the AD investigation, but those dates may be extended. If Commerce finds that products are not being dumped and/or unfairly subsidized, or the ITC finds in its final determinations there is no harm to the U.S. industry, then the investigations will be terminated and no duties will be applied.

The strict enforcement of U.S. trade law is a primary focus of the Trump Administration. Since the beginning of the current Administration, Commerce has initiated 160 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – this is a 220 percent increase from the comparable period in the previous administration.

Antidumping and countervailing duty laws provide American businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of the unfair pricing of imports into the United States. Commerce currently maintains 477 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade law and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international law and is based on factual evidence provided on the record.

Foreign companies that price their products in the U.S. market below the cost of production or below prices in their home markets are subject to antidumping duties. Companies that receive unfair subsidies from their governments, such as grants, loans, equity infusions, tax breaks, or production inputs, are subject to countervailing duties aimed at directly countering those subsidies.


Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties and Countervailing Duties on Vertical Metal File Cabinets from China - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

I.  Type of Action: Antidumping Duty (“AD”) and Countervailing Duty (“CVD”):
China

II.  Product:  The scope of this investigation covers freestanding vertical metal file cabinets containing extendable file storage elements, having a width of 25 inches or less and having a height that is greater than its width (“vertical metal file cabinets”). The subject vertical metal file cabinets have bodies made of carbon and/or alloy steel and or other metals, regardless of whether painted, powder coated, galvanized or otherwise coated for corrosion protection or aesthetic appearance.

The subject vertical metal file cabinets must have two to five extendable elements for file storage (e.g., file drawers) of a height that permits hanging files of either letter (8.5” x 11”) or legal (8.5” x 14”) sized documents.

An “extendable element” is defined as a movable load-bearing storage component including, but not limited to, drawers and filing frames. Extendable elements typically have suspension systems, consisting of glide blocks or ball bearing glides, to facilitate opening and closing.

The subject vertical metal file cabinets typically come in models with two, three, four, or five-file drawers. The inclusion of an additional non-file-sized extendable storage element, not sized for storage files (e.g., a box or pencil drawer), does not remove an otherwise in-scope product from the scope. The inclusion of an integrated storage area that is 6” or less in height that is not extendable, (i.e., a cubby), also does not remove a subject vertical metal file cabinet from the scope. Accessories packaged with a subject vertical file cabinet, such as separate printer stands or shelf kits that sit on top of the in-scope vertical file cabinet are not considered integrated storage.

“Freestanding” means the unit has a solid top rather than an open top and is not designed to be attached to, be hung from or to support a desktop or other work surface. The ability to anchor a vertical file cabinet to a wall for stability or to prevent it from tipping over does not exclude the unit from the scope.

Subject vertical file cabinets may have different handle styles including plastic, metal, recessed or otherwise integrated handles. The addition of mobility elements such as casters or wheels, a dolly or other mobility elements does not remove the product from the scope. Packaging a subject vertical metal file cabinet with other accessories, including, but not limited to, locks, leveling glides, caster kits, drawer accessories (e.g., including but not limited to follower wires, follower blocks, file compressors, hanger rails, pencil trays, and hanging file folders), printer stand, shelf kit and magnetic hooks, also does not remove the product from the scope.

Excluded from the scope are vertical file cabinets with bodies made of plastic, wood, or other non-metallic substances.

Also excluded from the scope are lateral file cabinets. Lateral file cabinets typically have a body that is more than 25 inches wide and have a width that is greater than the body depth.

Also excluded from the scope are pedestal file cabinets. Pedestal file cabinets are metal file cabinets with body depths that are greater than or equal to their width, are under 31” in height, and have the following characteristics: (1) an open top or the means for the cabinet to be attached to or hung from a desktop or other work surface (i.e., not freestanding); or (2) freestanding file cabinets that have: (a) at least a 90 percent drawer extension for all extendable storage elements; (b) a central locking system; (c) a minimum weight density of 9.5 lbs/cubic foot; and (d) casters or leveling glides. A “central locking system” locks all drawers in a unit.

Also excluded from the scope are fire proof or fire resistant file cabinets that meet Underwriters Laboratories (“UL”) fire protection standard 72, class 350, which covers the test procedures applicable to fire-resistant equipment intended to protect paper records.

III.  HTS Classifications:  The merchandise subject to the investigation is classified under Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (“HTSUS”) in subheading 9403.10.0020. While HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and Customs purposes, the written description of the scope of the investigation is dispositive.

IV.  Date of Filing: April 30, 2019

V.  Petitioners: Hirsh Industries LLC

VI.  Foreign Producers/Exporters:  Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VII.  US Importers:  Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VIII.  Alleged Dumping Margins (No CVD Margins Listed):  PRC: 120.48-196.79%;

IX.  Comments:

A.  Projected date of ITC Preliminary Conference: May 20, 2019.

B.  The earliest theoretical date for retroactive suspension of liquidation for the AD is July 9, 2019; CVD is May 20, 2019.  Please contact our office for a complete projected schedule for the AD/CVD investigations.

C.  Volume and Value of Imports:  Please contact our office for a summary of the data filed with the petition.

D.  List of Alleged Subsidy Programs:  Please contact our office for a list of alleged subsidy programs.

If you have questions regarding how this investigation may impact future imports of scope merchandise or whether a particular product is within the scope of the investigation, please contact one of our attorneys.


Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumpinng and Countervailing Duties on Dried Tart Cherries from the Republic of Turkey (A-489-835 / C-489-836) - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

I.  Type of Action: Antidumping Duty (“AD”) and Countervailing Duty (“CVD”)

II.  Product:
The scope of these investigations covers dried tart cherries, which may also be referred to as dried sour cherries or dried red tart cherries. Dried tart cherries may be processed from any variety of tart cherries. Tart cherries are generally classified as Prunus cerasus. Types of tart cherries include, but are not limited to, Amarelle, Kutahya, Lutowka, Montmorency, Morello, and Oblacinska. Dried tart cherries are covered by the scope of this investigation regardless of the horticulture method through which the cherries were produced (e.g., organic or not).

Dried tart cherries are covered by the scope of these investigations whether or not they contain any added sugar or other sweetening matter, whether or not they are coated in oil or rice flour, whether infused or not infused, and regardless of the infusion ingredients, including sugar, sucrose, fruit juice, and any other infusion ingredients. The subject merchandise covers all shapes, sizes, and colors of dried tart cherries, whether pitted or unpitted, and whether whole, chopped, minced, crumbled, in granules, broken, or otherwise reduced in size. The scope covers dried tart cherries in all types of packaging, regardless of the size or packaging material.

Included in the scope of these investigations are dried tart cherries that otherwise meet the definition above that are packaged with non-subject products, including, but not limited to, mixtures of dried fruits and mixtures of dried fruits and nuts. Only the dried tart cherry components of such products are covered by these investigations; the scope does not include the non-subject components of such products.

Included in the scope of these investigations are all dried tart cherries produced in Turkey, including dried tart cherries that have been further processed in a third country, including but not limited to processing by sweetening, coating, chopping, mincing, crumbling, packaging with non-subject products, or other packaging, or any other processing that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in Turkey.

The scope of these investigations does not cover finished bakery and confectionery items (cakes, cookies, candy, etc.) that incorporate dried tart cherries as an ingredient.  The subject merchandise is currently classifiable under 0813.40.3000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject merchandise may also enter under subheadings 0813.40.9000, 0813.50.0020, 0813.50.0060, 2006.00.2000, and 2008.60.0060. The HTSUS subheadings set forth above are provided for convenience and U.S. Customs purposes only. The written description of the scope is dispositive.

III.  HTS Classifications:

The dried tart cherries that are the subject of this investigation are currently classifiable under 0813.40.3000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). The subject merchandise may also enter under subheadings 0813.40.9000, 0813.50.0020, 0813.50.0060, 2006.00.2000, and 2008.60.0060.

IV.  Date of Filing: April 23, 2019

V.  Petitioners: Dried Tart Cherry Trade Committee (Cherry Central Cooperative, Graceland Fruit, Inc., Payson Fruit Growers Coop, Shoreline Fruit, LLC and Smeltzer Orchard Co.)

VI.  Foreign Producers/Exporters:  Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VII.  US Importers:  Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VIII.  Alleged Dumping Margins (No CVD Margins Listed):  628.90%

IX.  Comments:

A.  Projected date of ITC Preliminary Conference: May 14, 2019.

B.  The earliest theoretical date for retroactive suspension of liquidation for the AD is August 21, 2019; CVD is June 22, 2019.  Please contact our office for a complete projected schedule for the AD and CVD investigations.

C.  Volume and Value of Imports:  Please contact our office for a summary of the data filed with the petition.

D.  List of Alleged Subsidy Programs: Please contact our office for a list of alleged subsidy programs.

If you have questions regarding how this investigation may impact future imports of scope merchandise or whether a particular product is within the scope of the investigation, please contact one of our attorneys.


USTR Releases Annual Special 301 Report and Notorious Markets List - U.S. Trade Representative

The Special 301 Report identifies trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.

Trading partners that currently present the most significant concerns regarding IP rights are placed on the Priority Watch List or Watch List. USTR identified 36 countries for these lists in the Special 301 Report:

Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela are on the Priority Watch List.

Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam are on the Watch List.

These trading partners will be the subject of increased bilateral engagement with USTR to address IP concerns. Specifically, over the coming weeks, USTR will review the developments against the benchmarks established in the Special 301 action plans for countries that have been on the Priority Watch List for multiple years. For such countries that fail to address U.S. concerns, USTR will take appropriate actions, such as enforcement actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act or pursuant to World Trade Organization or other trade agreement dispute settlement procedures, necessary to combat unfair trade practices and to ensure that trading partners follow through with their international commitments.

As part of the Special 301 review process, USTR invited public comments and held a public hearing that featured testimony from witnesses representing foreign governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations. USTR also offered a post-hearing comment period during which hearing participants could submit additional information.  

Notorious Markets List

The Notorious Markets List highlights 33 online markets and 25 physical markets that are reported to engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. This activity harms the American economy by undermining the innovation and intellectual property rights of U.S. IP owners in foreign markets. An estimated 2.5 percent, or nearly half a trillion dollars’ worth, of global imports are counterfeit and pirated products.

The 2018 Notorious Markets List maintains its special focus on the distribution of pirated content and counterfeit goods online. This year, the Notorious Markets List highlights free trade zones and the role they may play in facilitating trade in counterfeit and pirated goods. It also continues to discuss emerging piracy models, including illicit streaming devices, “stream-ripping,” and piracy portals and apps, that cause major damage to the digital marketplace for legitimate music, movies, and television. The Notorious Markets List also calls on several e-commerce platforms to improve takedown procedures and cooperation with right holders—particularly small and medium-sized businesses—to decrease the volume and prevalence of counterfeit and pirated goods on their platforms.

The Notorious Markets List does not constitute an exhaustive list of all markets reported to deal in pirated or counterfeit goods around the world, nor does it reflect findings of legal violations or the U.S. Government’s analysis of the general IP protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned. This announcement concludes the 2018 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, which USTR initiated on August 16, 2018, through publication in the Federal Register of a request for public comments. The request for comments and the public’s responses is online at www.regulations.gov, Docket number USTR-2018-0027.


Imported Apparel and its Impact on the Region - Port of New York/New Jersey - Breaking Waves

From attire to accessories, the right combination of textile, color, and pattern allows us to express our personalities, ambitions, and, most importantly, our sense of style. In New York City, the largest retail market in the country, the desire to shop is fueling a growing apparel market, accounting for more than $15 billion in annual sales. 

While going to a favorite store to search for a particular item may be easy to do, it is the result of a long, concentrated process—and the Port of New York and New Jersey plays a pivotal role in this process. More than 900 fashion companies are headquartered in New York, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, but their products are often produced overseas and shipped throughout the world. When ships arrive at our marine terminals, the apparel is transferred to truck or rail before being sorted at warehouses and distribution centers and eventually delivered to retail stores across the country.

Apparel is the sixth most imported commodity at the Port of New York and New Jersey accounting for 3.2 percent of total imports (117,272 TEUs) in 2018. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the rise in demand for apparel has major positive economic impacts nationally as well. The American Apparel and Footwear Association asserts that the U.S. apparel and footwear industry contributed $400.2 billion in retail sales in 2018 to the U.S economy.

Recent improvements at the Port of New York and New Jersey are helping to accommodate rising apparel demands by ensuring that all freight arriving at our marine terminals is transferred from ship to rail or truck quickly and efficiently. The raising of the Bayonne Bridge allows larger container ships (up to 18,000 TEUs) to enter our port. In addition, the expansion of the ExpressRail system, and the opening of a fourth ExpressRail terminal at Port Jersey, help transport cargo to a growing number of destinations in the Midwest, New England, and Canada.

Three countries account for more than half of the apparel imported at the Port of New York and New Jersey:

China—31.1 percent (36, 499 TEUs)
Vietnam—10.8 percent (12,619 TEUs)
India—10.6 percent (12,478 TEUs)
The most in demand imported apparel goods are:
Sweaters, pullovers of knit/cotton—12.4 percent (14,501 TEUs)
Sweaters, pullovers of manmade fibers—10.1 percent (11,836 TEUs)
T-shirts, singlets, tank tops, etc. – 8.5 percent (9,662 TEUs)
 
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