Bassett Mirror Company to pay $10.5 million for allegations of evading customs duties.

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According to a January 16, 2018 Department of Justice press release – Virginia based home furniture company, Bassett Mirror Company (Bassett) will pay $10.5 million to resolve allegations that Bassett violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by “knowingly making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the People’s Republic of China (PRC)”.

Wooden bedroom furniture from the People’s Republic Of China is covered under case number: A-570-890 and the scope includes:


The product covered by the order is wooden bedroom furniture. Wooden bedroom furniture is generally, but not exclusively, designed, manufactured, and offered for sale in coordinated groups, or bedrooms, in which all of the individual pieces are of approximately the same style and approximately the same material and/or finish. The subject merchandise is made substantially of wood products, including both solid wood and also engineered wood products made from wood particles, fibers, or other wooden materials such as plywood, oriented strand board, particle board, and fiberboard, with or without wood veneers, wood overlays, or laminates, with or without non-wood components or trim such as metal, marble, leather, glass, plastic, or other resins, and whether or not assembled, completed, or finished.

Since 2004, imports of wooden beddroom furniture from China have been subject to dumping duties and the current PRC rate is 216 percent.

The US Department of Justice alleged that for a five year period (2009 to 2014), Bassett evaded payment of antidumping duties owed by misclassifying the furniture as non-bedroom furniture on import documents. By classifying imports as “non-bedroom furniture”, Bassett avoiding paying the duty rate of 216%.

In general, antidumping duties are imposed against foreign companies for “dumping” products into the US market at prices below cost. Most of the foreign companies are located in “non market economy” countries such as People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. By imposing anti dumping duties on goods, the US Department of Commerce is attempting to protect US businesses and “level the playing field” for domestically manufactured products.

Given the current administration in the White House, we can expect the Department of Justice, CBP, and Commerce to further strengthen their enforcement of antidumping duties for any and all goods entering the US.

If you are not sure whether your imports from China are considered “wooden bedroom furniture, or if you have been alleged to violate the false claims act by misclassifying imports, avoiding payment of duties or any other import and export related claim from the US government, contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com immediately. There is no cost for the initial consultation and in most instances, time limits to take action are running – don’t miss your chance, contact us today.

USITC Votes to Continue Investigations on Common Alloy Aluminum Sheet from China.

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According to News Release 18-008 from the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) website (found here), the USITC voted to continue investigations on common alloy aluminum sheet from China. The USITC typically continues investigations if they believe there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured due to imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China. The “material injury” results because the USITC believes the manufacturing of aluminum sheet is being subsidized and sold in the US at a cost lower than “fair value”.

A continuation of an investigation means the US Department of Commerce (Commerce) will continue antidumping and countervailing duty investigations. The due date for the preliminary countervailing duty determination is due February 1, 2018. The antidumping duy determination is due on April 17, 2018.

The investigation of common alloy aluminum sheet from China can be found in Investigation Numbers 701-TA-591 and 731-TA-1399, publication number 4757, dated January 2018.

If you have any questions about these orders, or want to know if any of the products you import may be subject to dumping, please feel free to contact David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

U.S. Department of Commerce Issues Preliminary Duties On Chinese Solar Cells.

pexels-photo-356049.jpegIn a notice posted on the Federal Register here, the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) has preliminarily found that “Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled Into Modules, From the People’s Republic of China”, will be subject to preliminary countervailing duties.

Commerce determined that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of crystalline silicon photoltaic cells, whether or not assembled into modules (solar cells) from the People’s Republic of China (China).

The scope of the order covers crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and modules, laminates, and panels, consisting of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products, including, but not limited to, modules, laminates, panels, and building integrated materials.

The two mandatory respondents and their respective subsidy rates include Canadian Solar Inc. and its Cross-Owned Affiliates - 13.72% and Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd. and its Cross-Owned Affiliates - 10.93%. Non-selected companies under review have a subsidy rate of 12.64%

If you or someone you know imports crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells from China and they have questions about how this order affects them, please call David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

MoneyGram-Ant Financial Merger Fails CFIUS Clearance.

pexels-photo-259165.jpegChina-based Ant Financial Services Group sought CFIUS approval for a merger with Dallas-based MoneyGram. On January 2, 2018 a joint press release from MoneyGram and Ant Financial confirmed the parties have terminated their agreement to merge despite their efforts to seek approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

In April 2017, MoneyGram approved a $1bn takeover offer from Ant Financial. Ant Financial is run by Jack Ma, founder of Ali Baba – the world’s largest financial technology company with more than 500 million customers in China.

If you have questions or need CFIUS approval, give me a call, 832.896.6288 or email: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

Givens & Johnston Secures Favorable Scope Ruling Regarding Pipe Spools.

Pipe Spools

Givens & Johnston PLLC recently secured a scope ruling excluding certain pipe spools manufactured in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from Chinese anti-dumping duties (ADD) and countervailing duties (CVD). The exclusion covers pipe spools fabricated from non-Chinese originating pipe and pipe fittings (e.g. Japanese, Korean, U.S., etc.). In 2016, the ITA and Customs determined that all pipe spools fabricated in PRC were within the scope of the ADD & CVD orders applicable to Chinese pipe and pipe fittings as part of the ITA’s Westlake scope ruling decision.

In the Westlake case, the ITA declined to apply a substantial transformation analysis to the fabrication of pipe spools. Instead, the ITA used a mixed media analysis that looked at the components individually rather than as part of a whole. In Westlake, the ITA held that the pipe and pipe fittings fabricated into a pipe spool continue to have the same characteristics of pipe, so the ITA continued to treat them as pipe for ADD & CVD purposes. More recently, the ITA used the same method of analysis, except determined that because the non-Chinese origin pipe spool components were not subject to Chinese ADD & CVD, the fabrication into pipe spools did not change this result.

The full text of the scope ruling can be found here.

This ruling is crucial to companies who fabricate goods in the PRC from non-Chinese originating components and to any importers interested in importing pipe spools that are not subject to Chinese ADD & CVD. If you have any questions regarding how this ruling may affect you or your business, please give Givens & Johnston a call:

950 Echo Lane, Suite 360
Houston, Texas 77024
Phone: (713) 932-1540
Fax: (713) 932-1542

Want to expand your export business?

Export Law

 

The Houston District Export Council is hosting their “Export University” on April 28, 2016.

Export University is a series of courses on international trade topics organized by the District Export Council (DEC). The DEC is a volunteer, non-profit organization associated with the U.S. Department of Commerce. The purpose of the Export University is to improve the ability of U.S. businesses to compete in the ever growing global marketplace.

More information and registration can be found at the Houston DEC website: here.