Commerce Issues Affirmative Preliminary Determinations in the Countervailing Duty Investigations of Imports of Fabricated Structural Steel from China and Mexico...

• On July 8, 2019, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced the affirmative preliminary determinations of the countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of fabricated structural steel (FSS) from China and Mexico and a negative preliminary determination in the CVD investigation of imports of FSS from Canada.

• The CVD law provides U.S. businesses and workers with a transparent, quasi-judicial, and internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the market-distorting effects caused by unfair subsidization of imports into the United States, establishing an opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

• For the purpose of a CVD investigation, a countervailable subsidy is financial assistance from a foreign government that benefits the production of goods by foreign companies and is limited to specific enterprises or industries, or is contingent either upon export performance or upon the use of domestic goods over imported goods.

• In the Canada investigation, Commerce assigned a preliminary subsidy rate of 0.12 percent (de minimis) and 0.45 percent (de minimis) to mandatory respondents Les Constructions Beauce-Atlas Inc. and Les Industries Canatal Inc., respectively.

• In the China investigation, Commerce assigned a preliminary subsidy rates of 30.30 percent and 36.07 percent to mandatory respondents Modern Heavy Industries (Taicang) Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Matsuo Steel Structure Co., Ltd., respectively. Commerce also assigned a subsidy rate of 177.43 percent to the following non-responsive companies: Hongju Metals Co., Ltd., Huaye Steel Structure Co., Jiangsu Kingmore Storage Equipment, Jiangsu Zhengchang Cereal Oil & Feed, Ningbo Jiangbei Huarentai Trade, Ningbo Win Success Machinery Co., Ltd., Shangdong Taipeng Home Products Co., Sinopec Engineering (Group) Co., Ltd., Sunjoy Industrial Group Limited, Sunjoy Industries (Jiashan) Co., Ltd., Wuxi Huishan Metalwork Technology Co., Ltd., and Yueqing Yihua New Energy Technology. The preliminary subsidy rate for all other Chinese producers and exporters is 32.64 percent. Read More →

https://enforcement.trade.gov/download/factsheets/factsheet-multiple-fabricated-structural-steel-cvd-prelim-070819.pdf

Notice of Product Exclusions: China's Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation

Effective July 6, 2018, the U.S. Trade Representative (Trade Representative) imposed additional duties on goods of China with an annual trade value of approximately $34 billion (the $34 billion action) as part of the action in the Section 301 investigation of China's acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation.

The Trade Representative's determination included a decision to establish a product exclusion process. The Trade Representative initiated the exclusion process in July 2018, and stakeholders have submitted requests for the exclusion of specific products. In December 2018, March 2019, April 2019, May 2019, and June 2019, the Trade Representative granted exclusion requests. This notice announces the Trade Representative's determination to grant additional exclusion requests, as specified in the Annex to this notice. The Trade Representative will continue to issue decisions on pending requests on a periodic basis.

DATES:

The product exclusions announced in this notice will apply as of the July 6, 2018 effective date of the $34 billion action, and will extend for one year after the publication of this notice. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will issue instructions on entry guidance and implementation. Read More →

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/07/09/2019-14562/notice-of-product-exclusions-chinas-acts-policies-and-practices-related-to-technology-transfer

USITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of Certain Touch-Controlled Mobile Devices, Computers, and Components Thereof

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain touch-controlled mobile devices, computers, and components thereof.  The products at issue in the investigation are described in the Commission’s notice of investigation.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Neodron Ltd. of Dublin, Ireland, on May 22, 2019.  An amended complaint was filed on May 23, 2019.  The complaint, as amended, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain touch-controlled mobile devices, computers, and components thereof that infringe patents asserted by the complainant.  The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders.

The USITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:

Amazon,com, Inc., of Seattle, WA;
Dell Technologies Inc. of Round Rock, TX;
HP Inc. of Palo Alto, CA;
Lenovo Group Ltd. of Beijing, China;
Lenovo (United States) Inc. of Morrisville, NC;
Microsoft Corporation of Redmond, WA;
Motorola Mobility LLC of Chicago, IL;
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., of Suwon, South Korea; and
Samsung Electronics America, Inc., of Ridgefield Park, NJ.

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-1162), the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case.  The USITC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the USITC’s administrative law judges (ALJ), who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing.  The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission. Read More →

https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2019/er0619ll1116.htm

Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS)

To address ongoing aviation security threats, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is amending its regulations pertaining to the submission of advance air cargo data to implement a mandatory Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program for any inbound aircraft required to make entry under the CBP regulations that will have commercial cargo aboard. The ACAS program requires the inbound carrier or other eligible party to electronically transmit specified advance cargo data (ACAS data) to CBP for air cargo transported onboard U.S.-bound aircraft as early as practicable, but no later than prior to loading of the cargo onto the aircraft. The ACAS program enhances the security of the aircraft and passengers on U.S.-bound flights by enabling CBP to perform targeted risk assessments on the air cargo prior to the aircraft's departure for the United States. These risk assessments will identify and prevent high-risk air cargo from being loaded on the aircraft that could pose a risk to the aircraft during flight. Read More →

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/06/12/2018-12315/air-cargo-advance-screening-acas

United States – Mexico - Canada Trade Deal

Modernizing NAFTA into a 21st Century Trade Agreement

The United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached an agreement to modernize the 24-year-old NAFTA into a 21st century, high-standard agreement. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will support mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America.

Chapters with Key Achievements include:

  • Intellectual Property

  • Digital Trade

  • De minimis

  • Financial Services

  • Environment

Read More →

Strengthening North American Trade in Agriculture

While agriculture has generally performed well under NAFTA, important improvements in the agreement will enable food and agriculture to trade more fairly, and to expand exports of American agricultural products.

Key Achievements include:

  • Expanded Market Access for American Dairy, Poultry & Egg Products

  • Canada’s Milk Classes 6 & 7 to be Eliminated

  • Mechanism for Cooperation on Ag Biotechnology, Including New Technologies such as Gene Editing

  • Significant Commitments to Avoid Trade-Distorting Policies

  • Fair Treatment in Quality Grading for American Wheat

  • Non-Discrimination and Transparency Commitments Regarding the Sale and Distribution of Alcohol Beverages

Read More →

https://ustr.gov/usmca

U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration

The United States and Mexico met this week to address the shared challenges of irregular migration, to include the entry of migrants into the United States in violation of U.S. law. Given the dramatic increase in migrants moving from Central America through Mexico to the United States, both countries recognize the vital importance of rapidly resolving the humanitarian emergency and security situation. The Governments of the United States and Mexico will work together to immediately implement a durable solution.

As a result of these discussions, the United States and Mexico commit to:

Mexican Enforcement Surge

Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks. Additionally, the United States and Mexico commit to strengthen bilateral cooperation, including information sharing and coordinated actions to better protect and secure our common border.

Migrant Protection Protocols

The United States will immediately expand the implementation of the existing Migrant Protection Protocols across its entire Southern Border. This means that those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims. Read More →

https://www.state.gov/u-s-mexico-joint-declaration/


Implementation of New Commerce Section 232 Exclusions Portal

This interim final rule changes the process for requesting exclusions from the duties and quantitative limitations on imports of aluminum and steel discussed in two Commerce interim final rules implementing the exclusion process authorized by the President as part of the action he took to adjust imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended (“232”). The Department of Commerce (“the Department”) has developed the portal referred to henceforth as the “232 Exclusions Portal” for persons submitting exclusion requests, objections to exclusion requests, rebuttals, and surrebuttals to replace the use of the Federal rulemaking portal (http://www.regulations.gov) and streamline the exclusions process while enhancing data integrity and quality controls. Based on public comment on the current process for submissions to the Department, Commerce is publishing this interim final rule to grant the public the ability to submit new exclusion requests as soon as possible through the 232 Exclusions Portal while still allowing the opportunity for public comment on the portal. Read More →

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/06/10/2019-12254/implementation-of-new-commerce-section-232-exclusions-portal

USITC Begins Investigation Concerning Possible Modifications To The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences For Removals, Competitive Need Limitation Waivers, and Redesignations

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for a newly initiated investigation concerning possible modifications to the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

The investigation, Generalized System of Preferences: Possible Modifications, 2018 Review, was requested by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a letter received on June 4, 2019.

As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will provide advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, on U.S. industries producing like or directly competitive articles, and on U.S. consumers of the removal from eligibility of two HTS subheadings for certain GSP countries.

The removals in consideration are:

  • 3907.61.00 (Polyethylene terephthalate, having a viscosity number of 78 ml/g or higher) from Pakistan,

  • 3907.69.00 (Polyethylene terephthalate, having a viscosity number less than 78 ml/g) from Pakistan.

The USTR also requested that the USITC provide advice on whether any industry in the United States is likely to be adversely affected by competitive need limitation waivers for two HTS subheadings for certain GSP countries and advice as to the probable economic effect on total U.S. imports, as well as on consumers, of the requested waivers. The USITC will also provide advice as to whether a like or directly competitive article was produced in the United States in any of the preceding three calendar years for these articles. "Competitive need limitations" represent the maximum import level of a product that is eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP.  Once the limit is reached, trade is considered "competitive," benefits are no longer needed, and imports of the article become ineligible for GSP treatment, unless a waiver is granted.  With respect to the competitive need limit in section 503(c)(2)(A)(i)(I) of the 1974 Act, the USITC, as requested, will use the dollar value limit of $185 million. The HTS subheadings in consideration are:

  • 3823.11.00 (Stearic acid) from Indonesia,

  • 9001.50.00 (Spectacle lenses of materials other than glass, unmounted) from Thailand. Read More →

https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2019/er0607ll1110.htm

Statement from the President Regarding Emergency Measures to Address the Border Crisis

As everyone knows, the United States of America has been invaded by hundreds of thousands of people coming through Mexico and entering our country illegally.  This sustained influx of illegal aliens has profound consequences on every aspect of our national life—overwhelming our schools, overcrowding our hospitals, draining our welfare system, and causing untold amounts of crime.  Gang members, smugglers, human traffickers, and illegal drugs and narcotics of all kinds are pouring across the Southern Border and directly into our communities.  Thousands of innocent lives are taken every year as a result of this lawless chaos.  It must end NOW!

Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States.  Mexico has very strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home countries.  Additionally, Mexico could quickly and easily stop illegal aliens from coming through its southern border with Guatemala. Read More →

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-regarding-emergency-measures-address-border-crisis/

Proclamation to Modify the List of Beneficiary Developing Countries Under the Trade Act of 1974

1.  In Executive Order 11888 of November 24, 1975, the President designated India as a beneficiary developing country for purposes of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.).

2.  Pursuant to section 502(d)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (the “1974 Act”) (19 U.S.C. 2462(d)(1)), the President may withdraw, suspend, or limit the application of the duty-free treatment accorded under the GSP with respect to any beneficiary developing country.  In taking any action under section 502(d)(1) of the 1974 Act, the President shall consider the factors set forth in sections 501 and 502(c) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2461 and 2462(c)).

3.  Section 502(c)(4) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462(c)(4)) provides that, in determining whether to designate any country as a beneficiary developing country, the President shall take into account, among other factors, the extent to which such country has assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets and basic commodity resources of such country and the extent to which such country has assured the United States that it will refrain from engaging in unreasonable export practices. Read More →

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-modify-list-beneficiary-developing-countries-trade-act-1974-2/

Turkey Designation as a Developing Country in WTO GSP Under Section 201 is Removed

Consistent with the Presidential Proclamation 9887 to Modify the List of Beneficiary Developing Countries Under the Trade Act of 1974, issued on May 16, 2019, the designation of Turkey as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is removed from the list of developing country WTO Members exempt from application of the safeguard measures on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cell (CSPV) products and large residential washers. Read More →

https://csms.cbp.gov/viewmssg.asp?Recid=24254&page=&srch_argv=&srchtype=&btype=&sortby=&sby=

Certain Lithium Ion Battery Cells, Battery Modules, Battery Packs, Components Thereof, and Processes Therefor

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain lithium ion batteries, battery cells, battery modules, battery packs, components thereof, and processes therefor.  The products at issue in the investigation are described in the Commission’s notice of investigation.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by LG Chem, Ltd. of Seoul, South Korea, and LG Chem Michigan, Inc. of Holland, MI, on April 29, 2019. The complaint, as supplemented, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain lithium ion batteries, battery cells, battery modules, battery packs, components thereof, and processes therefor that misappropriate trade secrets asserted by the complainant.  The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders. Read More →

https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2019/er0529ll1106.htm

The Department of Commerce Amends Countervailing Duty Process

WASHINGTON – Today, under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to impose countervailing duties on countries that act to undervalue their currency relative to the dollar, resulting in a subsidy to their exports. U.S. law defines a countervailable subsidy as a financial contribution from a government or public entity that is specific and that provides a benefit to a foreign producer or exporter.

“This change puts foreign exporters on notice that the Department of Commerce can countervail currency subsidies that harm U.S. industries,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Foreign nations would no longer be able to use currency policies to the disadvantage of American workers and businesses. This proposed rulemaking is a step toward implementing President Trump’s campaign promise to address unfair currency practices by our trading partners.”

The draft regulation identifies the criteria the Department would use to determine if countervailing duties should be imposed for currency undervaluation. Read More →

https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2019/05/department-commerce-amends-countervailing-duty-process

United States Announces Deal with Canada and Mexico to Lift Retaliatory Tariffs

Washington, DC –Today, the United States announced an agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove the Section 232 tariffs for steel and aluminum imports from those countries and for the removal of all retaliatory tariffs imposed on American goods by those countries.  The agreement provides for aggressive monitoring and a mechanism to prevent surges in imports of steel and aluminum. If surges in imports of specific steel and aluminum products occur, the United States may re-impose Section 232 tariffs on those products. Any retaliation by Canada and Mexico would then be limited to steel and aluminum products. This agreement is great news for American farmers that have been subject to retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico. At the same time, the Agreement will continue to protect America’s steel and aluminum industries.  Read More →

https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2019/may/united-states-announces-deal-canada-and

Proclamation to Modify the List of Beneficiary Developing Countries Under the Trade Act of 1974

1.  In Executive Order 11888 of November 24, 1975, the President designated Turkey as a beneficiary developing country for purposes of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.).

2.  Pursuant to section 502(d)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (the “1974 Act”) (19 U.S.C. 2462(d)(1)), the President may withdraw, suspend, or limit the application of the duty-free treatment accorded under the GSP with respect to any beneficiary developing country.  In taking any action under section 502(d)(1) of the 1974 Act, the President shall consider the factors set forth in sections 501 and 502(c) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2461 and 2462(c)).

3.  Section 502(c)(2) of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462(c)(2)) provides that, in determining whether to designate any country as a beneficiary developing country, the President shall take into account, among other factors, the level of economic development of such country, including its per capita gross national product, the living standards of its inhabitants, and any other economic factors that the President deems appropriate.

4.  Consistent with section 502(d)(1) of the 1974 Act, and having considered the factors set forth in sections 501 and 502(c), I have determined that, based on its level of economic development, it is appropriate to terminate Turkey’s designation as a beneficiary developing country effective May 17, 2019. Read More →

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-modify-list-beneficiary-developing-countries-trade-act-1974/

Department of Commerce Announces the Addition of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to the Entity List

WASHINGTON – Today, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it will be adding Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and its affiliates to the Bureau’s Entity List. This action stems from information available to the Department that provides a reasonable basis to conclude that Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interest. This information includes the activities alleged in the Department of Justice’s public superseding indictment of Huawei, including alleged violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA by providing prohibited financial services to Iran, and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of those alleged violations of U.S. sanctions.

The sale or transfer of American technology to a company or person on the Entity List requires a license issued by BIS, and a license may be denied if the sale or transfer would harm U.S. national security or foreign policy interests. The listing will be effective when published in the Federal Register. Read More →

https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2019/05/department-commerce-announces-addition-huawei-technologies-co-ltd

FDA Extends Application Period for Voluntary Qualified Importer Program to July 31

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be extending the application period for importers to submit their notice of intent to participate and their completed application for the Fiscal Year 2020 benefits period of the  Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP). The application portal will remain open until July 31, 2019, after which it will close to allow time for the agency to review applications before the start of the annual benefits period that will begin on October 1, 2019.

VQIP is a voluntary fee-based program established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that provides expedited review and importation of human and animal foods into the United States for approved applicants who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains.

To participate, importers must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include ensuring that the facilities of their foreign supplier are certified by a certification body that has been accredited through the FDA’s Accredited Third-Party Certification Program(TPP).

As of May 1, 2019, four third-party certification bodies have received accreditation. All certification bodies that are accredited under TPP will be listed on the public registry available on FDA.gov.  Read More →

https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-extends-application-period-voluntary-qualified-importer-program-july-31

Utility Scale Wind Towers From the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Continuation of Antidumping Duty Orders and Countervailing Duty Order

As a result of the determinations by the Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the International Trade Commission (ITC) that revocation of the antidumping duty (AD) orders on utility scale wind towers (wind towers) from the People's Republic of China (China) and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam), and revocation of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on wind towers from China would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and countervailable subsidies, and material injury to an industry in the United States, Commerce is publishing a notice of continuation of these AD orders and the CVD order. Read More →

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/05/17/2019-10270/utility-scale-wind-towers-from-the-peoples-republic-of-china-and-the-socialist-republic-of-vietnam

USITC VOTES TO CONTINUE INVESTIGATIONS CONCERNING CERAMIC TILE FROM CHINA

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of ceramic tile from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value.

Chairman David S. Johanson and Commissioners Irving A. Williamson, Meredith M. Broadbent, Rhonda K. Schmidtlein, and Jason E. Kearns voted in the affirmative.  

As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue with its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations concerning imports of this product from China, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about July 5, 2019, and its preliminary antidumping duty determination due on or about September 17, 2019.

The Commission’s public report Ceramic Tile from China (Inv. Nos. 701-TA-621 and 731-TA-1447 (Preliminary), USITC Publication 4898, June 2019) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the investigations. Read More →

https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2019/er0524ll1103.htm

USITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of Certain Digital Video Receivers, Broadband Gateways, and Related Hardware and Software Components

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain digital video receivers, broadband gateways, and related hardware and software components.  The products at issue in the investigation are described in the Commission’s notice of investigation.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Rovi Corporation and Rovi Guides, Inc., both of San Jose, CA, on April 26, 2019. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain digital video receivers, broadband gateways, and related hardware and software components that infringe patents asserted by the complainants.  The complainants request that the USITC issue a general exclusion order, or in the alternative a limited exclusion order, and cease and desist orders.

The USITC has identified the following as respondents in this investigation:

Comcast Corporation of Philadelphia, PA;
Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, of Philadelphia, PA;
Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC, of Philadelphia, PA; and
Comcast Holdings Corporation of Philadelphia, PA.

Read More →

https://www.usitc.gov/press_room/news_release/2019/er0523ll1102.htm