17.5% tariffs on Mexican tomatoes.

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While we frequently hear “tariff” and “China” in the same sentence, we will likely now start hearing “tariff” and “Mexico” more frequently as the Trump administration has placed near tariffs on imports of fresh tomatoes from Mexico.

A little background – in 1996 the US did not pursue tariffs on Mexican tomAatoes based off assurances from Mexican tomato growers would not sell their tomatoes at articially lower prices. However, last year Florida tomato growers requested the Trump administration to investigate whether Mexican tomatoes were being sold at articially low prices. In February 2019, the Trump administration issued a notice they would withdraw from the 1996 agreement on May 7th if a new deal could not be reached. Since no agreement was reached, Mexican tomatoes are now subject to a 17.5% tariff. If a subsequent investigation finds no unfair pricing, then any tariffs paid will be refunded.

Questions about the tomato tariffs, call/text David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Blue Furniture Solutions reach plea deal on lying to avoid paying tariffs.

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Jeff Zeng, President of Blue Furniture Solutions in Miramar, Florida signed a plea agreement in March admitting his participation in a plan to avoid payment of tariffs.

As you are aware – furniture from China, especially wooden bedroom furniture is subject to antidumping and countervailing duties. Most importers attempt to avoid the duties by shipping the goods from China to Vietnam/Malaysia/Indonesia and relabeling the boxes as any other country but China – a practice known as transshipment.

However, Blue Furniture Solutions and instead tried to get around the duties (as high as 216% percent) by submitting customs forms mislabeling their furniture. Most likely they reported the country of origin as some place other than China.

If you are a furniture importer and are interested in looking at ways to save on duties – there are some ways our firm can help. Email antidumping and countervailing duty attorney David at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or call/text 832.896.6288 for a free, confidential consultation.

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry wins case against Chinese cast iron pipe producers.

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Last week, the International Trade Commission (ITC) voted unanimously in favor of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry in their anti-dumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) petition against imports of cast iron soil pipe from the People’s Republic of China.

A vote in favor of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry means the U.S. Department of Commerce determined that Chinese producers or exporters undersold the subsidized cast iron soil pipe in the US. AD/CVD duties are to level the playing field and cast iron soil pipe imported into the US from China will include duties ranging 251% to 345%. These additional duties go info effect immediately.

If you are a Chinese exporter or want to know how these new duties impact your business – regardless of whether you import or export, give David Hsu a call at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

US Kitchen cabinet companies petition for anti-dumping duties against Chinese cabinet producers.

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The American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance (AKCA) filed a petition with the International Trade Commission to impose antidumping duties and tariffs on imports of cabinets from Chinese manufacturers.

The AKCA claims the $10 billion cabinet industry is being harmed by imports of cabinets from Chinese manufacturers. The AKCA claims U.S. cabinet manufacturers have seen poor financial performance despite a 12.5% increase in the number of housing units completed in the U.S. The AKCA blames cheap imports from China for their financial decline.

The petition to the ITC by AKCA claims the kitchen cabinets from China are also sold at a below normal value and the AKCA is requesting an ADD rate of 175.5% to 259%.

If you are an importer or manufacturer of kitchen cabinets and ahve questions how the investigation on kitchen cabinets may impact you, contact attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or by text/call at 832.896.6288.

American Farm Bureau Federation supports Commerce Department anti-dumping investigation of Mexican tomatoes.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce will resume anti-dumping investigations into imports of Mexican tomatoes despite a previous agreement not to.

Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation indicated an anti-dumping investigation was needed because Mexican producers have increased their market share despite an agreement to ban artificially low prices.

On February 6, 2019, the Department of Commerce notified Mexico they would withdraw from the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico under a clause that the signatories may withdraw from the Agreement with “ninety days written notice to the other party”. The expiration of the 90-days is May 7, 2019.

After the withdraw on May 8th, an investigation by the Department of Commerce will continue and will send notification to the International Trade Commission of its final determination.

If you are an importer of Mexican tomatoes or want to know how this may impact you, contact antidumping duty attorney David Hsu at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or by phone/text at 832.896.6288 for a no cost or obligation consultation.

CBP investigating Philippines exporter for transshipment.

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According to the Inquirer.net, U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) is investigating whether a Philippines manufacturer (Enlin Corporation) of stainless steel flanges has been evading the payment of antidumping duties (AD) and countervailing (CVD) duties by marking the flanges as “made in the Philippines”. Shipping goods from one country to another and falsely claiming the country of origin to avoid AD/CVD duties is frequently referred to as “transshipment”.

Under the tariffs enacted earlier this  year, the combined AD/CVD on stainless steel flanges can reach as high as 400%. CBP has already placed certain importers of stainless steel flanges from the Philippines subject to AD/CVD duties.

If you have any questions about country of origin, transshipment (trans shipment) or your company is under an investigation by CBP, contact experienced trade attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at: attorney.dave@yahoo.com for immediate assistance.

ITC preliminary determination on aluminum wire and cable from China.

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According to Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., the International Trade Commission (ITC) preliminarily ruled that aluminum wire and cable from China receive government subsidies such as tax breaks, loans and grants. The lower cost of production to these goods from China are “dumped” to the US thereby hurting US manufacturers.

A preliminary determination is one step towards the implementation of anti-dumping and countervailing duties. Countervailing duties are to counteract any subsidies that may be given to foreign manufacturers.

Two US companies – Encore Wire and Southwire Co. petitioned the ITC to assess duties on goods for China because (1) the margins of wire and cable from China are up to 63.47 percent and (2) Chinese producers receive government subsidies, tax breaks, loans and grants. These two factors allow Chinese companies to have a competitive advantage against U.S. manufacturers.

According to the article, the US imported about 157.2 million worth of wire and cable from China in 2017 alone.

Besides the just passed preliminary stage, the next state is a “final determination” phase that determines whether the imported steel and

The U.S. will only impose anti-dumping or countervailing duties if Commerce makes a final determination that the imports were sold in the U.S. at less than fair value or unfairly subsidized, and the ITC makes a final determination that the imports seriously hurt or threaten U.S. industry.

Check back for more news as it becomes available. If you have any anti dumping or countervailing duty questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

It’s official – US issues trade tariffs on steel and aluminum from the EU, Canada and Mexico.

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The Whitehouse issued two presidential proclamations that placed 25% steel and 10% aluminum tariffs on imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

The full proclamations can be found here for steel and here for aluiminum.

If you have any questions on how these new tariffs will impact your business or what options you may have – contact experienced antidumping attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com for a free evaluation.

Importer pays $500,000 fine for false claims to evade customs duties.

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Earlier in February of this year, the Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs released news of a settlement by Home Furnishings Resource Group Inc. agreement to pay $500,000 in settlement for False Claims Act allegations.

Background:
Home Furnishings Resource Group Inc. (HFRG) agreed to pay the $500,000 after they were alleged to have violated the False Claims Act on customs declarations in order to avoid paying antidumping duties (ADD) on “wooden bedroom furniture” imported from China.

Customs alleged the Hermitage, Tennessee company did not pay antidumping duties from 2009 to 2014 by misclassifying furniture as “non-bedroom” on import documents. By misclassifying as “non-bedroom”, HFRG did not pay the required ADD on wooden-bedroom furniture.

Why do we have antidumping duties?
Antidumping duties protect American manufacturers against foreign companies who make the same goods at a price below cost and “dump” the products into the US. The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is responsible for assessing whether goods are dumped into the US – and if so, assign an ADD amount to those imported goods.

The addition of a duty for these goods is to protect U.S. businesses and “level the playing field for domestic companies”.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) then collects these duties – wooden bedroom furntiure’s ADD rate was 216% and non-bedroom furniture was not subject to any duty.

How was HFRG caught?
University Loft Company, a competitor of HFRG, used the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, permitting private parties to sue on behalf of the US against those who falsely claim federal funds or, as in this case, who avoid paying funds owed to the government. The act also allows the whistleblower to receive a share of any funds recovered. University Loft Company will receive approximately $75,000.

Do you know anyone violating the False Claims Act?
If you believe an importer has been misclassifying goods to avoid payment of duties, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

U.S. Department of Commerce Finds Dumping of Imports of Fine Denier Polyester Staple Fiber from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan.

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Image of denier polyester staple fiber courtesy of the Tianjin Glory Tang Technology Co., Ltd.

According to a U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) news release – the Commerce Department announced the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of fine denier polyester staple fiber from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan.

Commerce determined that exporters from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan sold fine denier polyester staple fiber in the United States at less than fair value. The dumping margins determined by Commerce are as follows:

China – 65.17 – 103.06 percent
India – 21.43 percent
Korea – 0 – 45.23 percent
Taiwan – 0 – 48.86 percent

With today’s decision, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of fine denier polyester staple fiber from China, India, Korea, and Taiwan based on the final rates, as appropriate.

I find it ironic, one of the petitioners is Nan Ya Plastics Corporation, America – a company that previously imported fine denier polyester staple fiber.

One interested statistic in the Commerce release – the Trump administration has 114 new antidumping and countervailing duty investigations since the beginning of the administration compared to the the 64 initiations in the last 489 days of the previous administration.

If you are an importer of fine denier polyster staple fiber from China, India, Korea or Taiwan and have questions how this decision may impact your business, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.