Commerce Department finds dumping of refillable stainless steel kegs from Mexico.

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Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued an affirmative final determination in the antidumping (AD) investigation of imports of refillable stainless steel kegs from Mexico.

Here’s a summary:

  1. Commerce found that exporters from Mexico have been selling refillable stainless steel kegs at less than fair value in the United States at a rate of 18.48 percent.
  2. After today, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to continue to collect cash deposits equal to the applicable final weighted-average dumping rate.
  3. Last year, imports of refillable stainless steel kegs from Mexico were valued at an estimated $13.4 million.
  4. The US manufacturer is the American Keg Company, LLC located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

So far into Trump’s administration, the Commerce Department has initiated 179 new antidumping/countervailing duty investigations – a 231% increase from the same time during the Obama administration.

The full text of the affirmative determination can be found at the following link:

https://enforcement.trade.gov/download/factsheets/factsheet-mexico-refillable-stainless-steel-kegs-ad-final-081319.pdf

If you have any questions how this new AD determination will impact your business or would like to discuss ways to reduce your AD/CVD duties, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Commerce issues affirmative preliminary determination in CVD investigation of wooden cabinets and vanities.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued affirmative preliminary determination CVD investigation of wooden cabinets and vanities from China, finding that exporters received countervailable subsidies ranging from 10.97 to 229.24 percent.
As such, Commerce will instruct CBP to start collecting cash deposits from importers of wooden cabinets and vanities from China. Last year, imports of wooden cabinets and vanities from China were valued at an estimated $4.4 billion. The final CVD determination is expected to be on or about December 17, 2019. A final injury determination will then be announced on January 30, 2020.
The announcement and preliminary rates can be found here.
If you have any questions about importing wooden cabinets and vanities, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US collected $63 billion in tariffs through June.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury department’s tariffs is expected to generate almost $72 billion in tariffs through June of this year. This number will likely go much higher if the “List 4” duties take effect on September 1st. On September 1st, over $300 billion in Chinese goods will be subject to a 10% tariff with a potential to increase to 25%.

Specifically, as of June 30th, the Treasury department has collected $63 billion in tariffs over the past 12 months. In contrast, prior to the trade war, the US only brought in $30 billion dollars.

The WSJ estimates the annual generated amount can be as high as $100 billion by the end of the year once the 10% duties are placed on over $300 billion worth of imported goods from China.

If you have any questions how the current 301 duties or proposed List 4 duties will impact you, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Senator Rubio comments on the investigation of tomatoes from Mexico.

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued a statement today about the ongoing antidumping investigation on fresh tomatoes from Mexico (Inv. No. 731-TA-747).

Senator Rubio said that “U.S. tomato growers should not have to lose their livelihoods due to a deal imposed on them by their own government”, adding that the loss of livelihood happened under the previous agreement.

Also stating: “The fact remains that the Mexicans have avoided serious negotiations for well over a year, preferring to use scare tactics and inflammatory rhetoric to try to force President Trump and Secretary Ross to back down on their commitment to ensure that American tomato growers are able to fairly compete in our own domestic market.”

Key upcoming dates in this investigation:

09/03/2019: Prehearing Report
09/10/2019: Prehearing Briefs
09/19/2019 9:30 am: Hearing
09/26/2019: Posthearing Briefs
10/10/2019: Report to the Commission
10/17/2019: Record Closing
10/21/2019: Final Comments
10/23/2019: Proposed Vote
11/04/2019: Determination(s) Issued
11/04/2019: View(s) Issued
11/04/2019: End

If you have any questions about how this investigation will impact you, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

019: Report to the Commission
10/17/2019: Record Closing
10/21/2019: Final Comments
10/23/2019: Proposed Vote
11/04/2019: Determination(s) Issued
11/04/2019: View(s) Issued
11/04/2019: End

If you have any questions about how this investigation will impact you, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Easy to understand version of the Chinese billionaire’s scam to avoid paying duties on aluminum.

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Who is involved:
Chinese billionaire: Zhongtian Liu
His company: China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd.
Key players according to investigators: Zhaohua Chen, Xiang Chun Shao, Perfectus Aluminum Inc, Perfectus Aluminum Acquisitions, four LLC’s that owned the warehouses. A business agent named Po-Chi

What was he importing:
Aluminum pallets that appeared to be “finished” to avoid duties on unfinished aluminum extrusions. The pallets were “spot-welded” to appear to be finished pallets.

Purpose of scam:
Unfinished aluminum is subject to a high rate of duty (up to 400%)

How he scammed Customs:
He imported the aluminum as finished aluminum pallets. Finished aluminum pallets have a lower duty.

How did the scam work?
1. Import aluminum pallets instead of extruded aluminum. Manufactured pallets avoid the duties versus extruded aluminum.
2. The pallets were then stored in warehouses.
3. The pallets were “sold” to entities owned by the billionaire to inflate sales and deceive investors.
4. Investigators believed Liu was going to build a smelting plant to melt the palllets then sell as raw aluminum. The aluminum imported was a higher grade and used in applications such as surgical tools.

How big ($) was the scam?
A total of 2.2 million pallets were imported from 2011 to 2014.
Customs believe the billionaire avoided paying $1.8 billion.

When was the scam discovered?
Started in 2017 with notice of the charges released this week.

What will happen to the people charged?
Probably not much, Liu and the defendants are in China and the US cannot extradite them (no treaty with China).

If you have any questions about limiting your tariff liability the legal way – contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Chinese manufacturers return to China leaving ‘inefficient’ Vietnam.

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According to the South China Morning Post, some Chinese manufacturers that relocated to Vietnam due to the tariffs placed on imports to the US, are moving back to China or exploring manufacturing options in Thailand, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The SCMP article quotes a factory manager who said differences in culture (no over time in Vietnam and lower skill labor force) were two main causes of delays in delivery times and poor production numbers. With the tariffs in place, this has increased the demand for land and labor in Vietnam, causing costs to also increase. As foreigners cannot own land in Vietnam, there is also a risk for Chinese manufacturers to partner with a Vietnamese counterpart. Another factor leading to increased manufacturing costs for Chinese companies are the stricter labor and environmental protections, causing many Chinese companies to face fines for violations.

The current trade situation in Vietnam and US tariffs are forcing some manufacturers to look towards Thailand – attractive because of the stable political situation but high labor costs; Bangladesh which is relatively unknown to Chinese manufacturers and Myanmar which has low labor costs, but Myanmar faces sanctions due to their human rights abuses.

While not discussed in the SCMP article, the other big problem for Chinese manufacturers is the issue of how long the US 301 duties will remain in place. Just as spontaneously as the 301 duties were put in place, the 301 duties can also spontaneously end at the discretion of President Trump. I believe this unpredictability is the main question Chinese manufacturers must answer before spending the money and dedicating the time, resources, and manpower needed to move production to a foreign country.

If you have any questions regarding country of origin and how to avoid tariffs by moving production to other countries besides China, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com, attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

New antidumping investigation on utility scale wind towers from Canada, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam.

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Earlier this week, Arcosa Wind Towers and Broadwind Towers, Inc (Petitioners) petitioned for an investigation on utility scale wind towers from Canada, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam. The merchandise covered in this scope consists of certain wind towers, whether or not tapered, and sections thereof. Certain wind towers are designed to support the nacelle and rotor blades in a wind turbine with a minimum rated electrical power generation capacity in excess of 100 kilowatts and with a minimum height of 50 meters measured from the base of the tower to the bottom of the nacelle (i.e., where the top of the tower and nacelle are joined) when fully assembled.

A wind tower section consists of, at a minimum, multiple steel plates rolled into cylindrical or conical shapes and welded together (or otherwise attached) to form a steel shell, regardless of coating, end-finish, painting, treatment, or method of manufacture, and with or without flanges, doors, or internal or external components (e.g., flooring/decking, ladders, lifts, electrical buss boxes, electrical cabling, conduit, cable harness for nacelle generator, interior lighting, tool and storage lockers) attached to the wind tower section. Several wind tower sections are normally required to form a completed wind tower.

Wind towers and sections thereof are included within the scope whether or not they are joined with nonsubject merchandise, such as nacelles or rotor blades, and whether or not they have internal or external components attached to the subject merchandise.

Specifically excluded from the scope are nacelles and rotor blades, regardless of whether they are attached to the wind tower. Also excluded are any internal or external components which are not attached to the wind towers or sections thereof, unless those components are shipped with the tower sections.

Merchandise covered by this investigation is currently classified in the HTSUS under subheading 7308.20.0020 or 8502.31.0000. While the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of the investigation is dispositive.

The listed producers are CS Wind, Enercon Canada, Fabrication Delta, Marmen, Kenertec, Korindo Wind, Dongkuk S&C, Speco, Win&P, Ltd., CS WIND Vietnam Co., Ltd, Vina Halla Industrial Company, UBI Tower Sole Member Co. LTD.

If you are a manufacturer or importer of utility scale wind towers and want to know your options, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dh@gjatradelaw.com. Time is of the essence in antidumping investigations so you need to act soon.

US Mexico tomato dispute – US demands 100% review of all tomatoes within 72 hours of shipment.

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According to publimetro.com.mx, the Secretary of Economy of Mexico, Graciela Marquez claims the US is inflexible in their demand to review 100% of tomato shipments at the border within 72 hours. The Mexican Government claims the US does not have enough man power to process the tomatoes.

The current tomato dispute stems began in 1996, when tomato growers in Florida initiated antidumping investigations against Mexican tomato exports. A deal was reached in November 1996 between Mexican growers and the Department of Commerce that led to the suspending of the investigation. The suspension was renewed in 2002, 2008 and 2013. However, earlier this year, Florida tomato growers complained the Mexican growers were violating their end of the deal. Since May of 2019, Mexican tomato exporters have had to pay a countervailing duty rate of 17.5% before the tomatoes can be exported into the United States.

The final determination will be issued on September 19, 2019 followed by a final determination regarding the damages to the industry due on November 1, 2019.

Mexico is the world’s largest tomato exporter in 2018, with external sales of $2.3 billion dollars of which 99.7% of its exports are to the US.

Canadian sofa bed manufacturer no longer shipping to US due to 1,732% duties on Chinese mattresses.

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According to a news article from the vancouverisawesome.com webasite, a Vancouver-based company has cancelled shipping their sofa beds into the US due to the 1,732% antidumping duty on Chinese mattresses that are used in their sofa beds. The U.S. Department of Commerce in May dumping rates of 34% to 75% for some Chinese manufacturers with an “all others” rate of 1,732%.

The company claims their sofa beds costing $600 will cost $113,000 due to the tariffs because the sofa beds include the mattress.

Fortunately the company does not only sell beds, and can rely on their Canadian made products. In fact, being made in Canada will probably make this company more competitive than their competitors who rely on Chinese imports for other goods that are likely covered under Lists 1-3 and a potential List 4.

The Commerce Department has set October 11, 2019 as the announcement date for their final decision on antidumping duties for mattresses imported from China.

If you have questions on how this or any other antidumping duty or countervailing duty will impact you and your business, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US to impose tariffs of up to 74% on fabricated structural steel from Mexico.

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According to Mexico News Daily, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the results of a countervailing duty investigation found that Mexican steel exporters were subsidized by their government at rates from 0.01% to 74.01%. Besides Mexico, investigations of steel imports from China found subsidy rates of 30% to 177%. The investigation was brought by the Chicago-based American Institute of Steel Construction.

Separate investigations considered steel imports from Canada and China, and tariffs ranging from 30% to 177% will be imposed on product shipped to the United States by companies in the latter country. In Canada’s case, steel exporters were found to be receiving subsidies of less than 0.5% and no tariffs will be imposed. Imports of fabricated structural steel from Mexico totaled $622.4 milion last year.

In order to maintain competitiveness with foreign producers, the countervailing duty (CVD) rate is assesed against importers at a rate equal to the subsidy rate. One notable company subject to investigation and a 74.01% tariff is Swecomex, a subsidiary of Grupo Carso, which is owned by billionaire businessmen Carlos Slim, and Preacero Pellizzari Mexico.

The final determinations of its countervailing duty investigations will be announced on or about November 19th.

If you have any questions how these duties will impact your business, contact experienced AD/CVD attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.