US Department of Commerce initiates antidumping and countervailing investigations on certain quartz surface products from China.

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On May 7, 2018, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) initiated its less-than-fair-value and countervailing duty investigations on “Certain Quartz Surface Products from the People’s Republic of China (China)” (Initiation Notices). These investigations have been assigned the following case numbers: A-570-084 and C-570-085.

Scope Description:

According to the Commerce Department, the scope of the certain quartz surface products from China are covers:


The merchandise covered by the investigation is certain quartz surface products. 1
Quartz surface products consist of slabs and other surfaces created from a mixture of materials that includes predominately silica (e.g., quartz, quartz powder, cristobalite) as well as a resin binder (e.g., an unsaturated polyester). The incorporation of other materials, including, but not limited to, pigments, cement, or other additives does not remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation. However, the scope of the investigation only includes products where the silica content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight. Quartz surface products are typically sold as rectangular slabs with a total surface area of approximately 45 to 60 square feet and a nominal thickness of one, two, or three centimeters. However, the scope of this investigation includes surface products of all other sizes, thicknesses, and shapes. In addition to slabs, the scope of this investigation includes, but is not limited to, other surfaces such as countertops, backsplashes, vanity tops, bar tops, work tops, tabletops, flooring, wall facing, shower surrounds, fire place surrounds, mantels, and tiles. Certain quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether polished or unpolished, cut or uncut, fabricated or not fabricated, cured or uncured, edged or not edged, finished or unfinished, thermoformed or not thermoformed, packaged or unpackaged, and regardless of the type of surface finish.

In addition, quartz surface products are covered by the investigation whether or not they are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, non-subject merchandise such as sinks, sink bowls, vanities, cabinets, and furniture. If quartz surface products are imported attached to, or in conjunction with, such non-subject merchandise, only the quartz surface product is covered by the scope.

Subject merchandise includes material matching the above description that has been finished, packaged, or otherwise fabricated in a third country, including by cutting, polishing, curing, edging, thermoforming, attaching to, or packaging with another product, or any other finishing, packaging, or fabrication that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the quartz surface products.

Not covered by the scope of the investigation:


The scope of the investigation does not cover quarried stone surface products, such as granite, marble, soapstone, or quartzite. Specifically excluded from the scope of the investigation are crushed glass surface products. Crushed glass surface products are surface products in which the crushed glass content is greater than any other single material, by actual weight.

Applicable HTSUS numbers subject to the scope of the investigation:


The products subject to the scope are currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under the following subheading: 6810.99.0010. Subject merchandise may also enter under subheadings 6810.11.0010, 6810.11.0070, 6810.19.1200, 6810.19.1400, 6810.19.5000, 6810.91.0000, 6810.99.0080, 6815.99.4070, 2506.10.0010, 2506.10.0050, 2506.20.0010, 2506.20.0080. The HTSUS subheadings set forth above are provided for convenience and U.S. Customs purposes only. The written description of the scope is dispositive.

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Quartz surface products may also generally be referred to as engineered stone or quartz, artificial stone or quartz, agglomerated stone or quartz, synthetic stone or quartz, processed stone or quartz, manufactured stone or quartz, and Bretonstone®.

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If you have any questions about how the AD/CVD investigation will impact your quartz import business, or if you would like to discuss other options, contact the experienced antdiumping and countervailing duty attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

US Treasury Secretary Mnunchin may travel to Beijing for trade talks.

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77th United States Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin

Earlier this week, current US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters he may travel to Beijing for trade negotiations to ease U.S.-China tensions.

In recent weeks both countries have announced tariffs on goods imported from the other country and the tensions between the US and China (the world’s two largest trading partners) has raised concerns of an impending trade war. The US first proposed tariffs totaling $150 billion on Chinese imports and Beijing has proposed tariffs on American goods such as soybeans.

In response, the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China would “welcome” the move by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.

More updates as they become available.

Section 232 – Duties do not apply to goods coming from these countries until May 1, 2018.

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Until May 1, 2018, the Section 232 duties do not apply to goods coming from:

• Argentina;

• Australia;

• Brazil;

• Canada;

• Mexico;

• the member countries of the European Union; and

• South Korea.

After that time, the President will review whether to continue exempting these countries from the order.

Furthermore, the most recent customs message also says that admissions into FTZs can only be made with a privileged foreign status, which closes the previous FTZ loophole.

Any Section 232 questions? Call experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288, or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Federal Register just released the requirements for requesting exclusions under the most recent steel and aluminum – check back for summary.

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The Federal Register posted the interim requirements for requesting an exclusion from the most recent Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs. Check back for a detailed summary.

The full text of the Federal Register interim final rules on requesting exclusions can be found here:

https://www.commerce.gov/sites/commerce.gov/files/federal_register_vol_83_no_53_monday_march_19_2018_12106-12112.pdf

For answers to all your Section 232 aluminum and steel questions, contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

What are Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum?

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This post is in response to many queries we have received since last week’s announcement by President Trump of new tariffs effective March 23rd on aluminum and steel imports to the US under Section 232.

A Section 232 investigation is conducted under the authority of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. The original purpose of a 232 investigation was to determine whether or not the import affects national security. The investigations are started based on an application from an interested party (usually a domestic producer), at the request of any department or agency head, or it may be self-initiated by the Secretary of Commerce.

The Secretary of Commerce then prepares a report to the President focusing on whether the importation of the article in question is in such quantities or under circumstances that threaten to impair national security. If the import impairs national security, the President can concur or not with the Secretary’s recommendations and take action to “adjust the imports of an article and its derivatives” or other non-trade related actions as deemed necessary.

The Secretary’s report to the President, prepared within 270 days of initiation, focuses on whether the importation of the article in question is in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security. The President can concur or not with the Secretary’s recommendations, and take action to “adjust the imports of an article and its derivatives” or other non-trade related actions as deemed necessary.

The last section 232 investigation occurred in 2001 regarding iron ore and semi-finished steel.

Last week, President Trump imposed a 25% global tariff on steel imports and a 10% global tariff on:

Aluminum imports, including the following products:
7601.10 Aluminum, Not Alloyed, Unwrought
7601.20 Aluminum Alloys, Unwrought
7604 Aluminum bars, rods and profiles
7605 Aluminum wire
7606 Aluminum plates, sheets and strip, over 0.2mm
7607 Aluminum foil (whether or not printed or backed with paper or other backing materials)
7608 Aluminum tubes and pipes
7609 Aluminum tube or pipe fittings
7616.99.5160 and 7616.99.5170 Aluminum castings

Steel products within the broad scope of the global tariffs:
Carbon and alloy flat products;
Carbon and alloy long products;
Carbon and alloy pipe and tube products;
Carbon and alloy semi-finished products;
Stainless steel products.

If you have any questions about whether or not your imports may be subject to these new duties after March 23rd, contact AD/CVD attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

 

What is a “US Purchaser Questionnaire” from the International Trade Commission?

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Many of our clients who have been in business for multiple decades call our office regarding their receipt of an “US Purchaser Questionnaire” from the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

If you or your company receives this questionnaire (usually by email), it means the ITC is in the final phase of their anti-dumping/countervailing duty investigation. The responses from US Purchasers are then used to determine if the US industry is harmed or has the potential to be harmed by these importations.

It is important to respond to these questionnaires as the ITC has subpoena power and the ability to compel the submission of records and information for any purchaser who does not respond. To make replying more convenient, questionnaire responses can be sent back to the ITC online (usually through Dropbox).

If you or someone you know has received one of these questionnaires and has any questions about completing the questionnaire – or any questions about anti-dumping and countervailing duties, contact experienced attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288, dhsu@givensjohnston.com.