Japan/Korea trade war soon?

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As if 2020 has not had enough bad news – it appears South Korea and Japan are heading towards a trade war stemming from events that happened in WW2. The tense relations between the two nations results from a wartime labor compensation issue stemming from Japan’s forced labor during their colonial occupation of Korea and a focus on Japan’s use of “comfort women” during WW2.

In 2018, a court in South Korea seized assets from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Limited and Japan’s Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corporation in order to compensate forced laborers and comfort women during Japanese colonial rule of Korea from 1910-1945. While we think assets include something tangible, in this instance the assets were stock shares from a joint venture between a Japanese and Korean company with a value of approximately $800,000.

In response to the court decision that would seize the assets, Japan made it more difficult for South Korea to import chemicals needed for semiconductor manufacturing. In response, South Korea took Japan off their “white list” nation of countries with favorable trade terms while South Korean citizens also started a boycott of Japanese goods.

A dispute likely won’t be coming to a resolution soon – South Korea claims Japan has never apologized and refuses to compensate the victims where as Japan claims South Koreans were compensated in 1965.

The next deadline is August 4th, when the South Korean court considers the Japanese parties have been served with the notice of damages paperwork and the liquidation process can begin.

Potential antidumping duties on tires from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam?

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On May 13, 2020, The United Steelworkers (USW) union announced they were filing antidumping and countervailing duty petitions on passenger vehicle and light truck (PVLT) tires from Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The petition by the USW claims tires from the 4 countries are “dumped” into the US after being made at a much cheaper cost than can be produced by US manufacturers. Potential dumping margins listed in the petition range from as low as 33% to 217%. As you are aware, the USW previously obtained AD/CVD orders on PVLT tires from China in 2015 that led to a drastic reduction of Chinese tire imports. However, the AD/CVD orders had the indirect impact of shifting tire manufacturing to Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The full press release can be found here.

If you have any questions on how the potential antidumping and countervailing duties will impact your business, contact trade attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.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.

South Korea and Japan – next trade war?

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“Boycott Japan” logo, source: Twitter user: sydbris

Back in May of this year, a South Korean court sided with Korean wartime laborers to be compensated for their forced labor during Japan’s occupation of the Korean Peninsula. The court ordered seizure of assets belonging to Nippon Steel and Nachi-Fujikoshi to pay compensation to wartime laborers during 1910 to 1945.

In early July, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government announced the restrictions on sales to South Korea of materials necessary to produce vital components in high-tech manufacturing. The restrictions include three products: (1) fluorinated polyimides, used in smartphone displays; (2) photoresists, used to transfer circuit patterns on to semiconductor wafers; and (3) hydrogen fluoride, used as an etching gas when making chips.

Prime Minister Abe has denied the export controls are retailiation for the seizing of assets, but the netizens on both sides are battling it out online.

For example, the #BoycottJapan is trending in South Korea with South Korean netizens proposing South Korean alternatives to popular Japanese brands. Some South Koreans are posting their cancellation confirmations of previously arranged trips to Japan. In addition to individuals, the Korean Supermarkets Alliance, an organization representing more than 23,000 stores, said it would temporarily halt sales of Japanese products, including beers by Asahi and Kirin Holdings Co., and Japan Tobacco Inc.’s Mild Seven cigarettes.

Will be interesting to see what happens next.

Maybe the US courts can also do something – I’m still waiting for Japan to atone for their slaughter of civilian men, women, children in China and throughout Asia, the forced human trafficking of women to be used as “comfort women” and the killing of prisoners of war from the US, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world. Not holding my breath my breath though – one can only hope Japan gets payback for the pain and agony they caused the world.

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.