Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

Updates in International Trade

The last few weeks brought a flurry of developments regarding international trade.  Two petitions recently were filed with the US International Trade Commission (“ITC”).

On April 30th, Hirsh Industries filed an antidumping (“AD”) and countervailing duty (“CVD”) petition on imports of certain vertical metal file cabinets from China.  The petition covers metal filing cabinets containing extendable file storage elements having a width of 25 inches or less and having a height greater than its width.  The petition alleges dumping margins of 120.48 percent and 196.79 percent. The Department of Commerce will decide whether to initiate its investigation on May 20, 2019.

On May 8, Cambria Company LLC filed AD/CVD petitions on imports of certain quartz surface products from India and the Republic of Turkey.  The scope of the investigation is fairly broad, and includes quartz surface products such as slabs, including tabletops, countertops, bar tops, vanity tops, tabletops, tiles, etc. The petitioner alleges a 344.11 percent dumping margin against India, and an 89.38 percent dumping margin against the Republic of Turkey.  The Department of Commerce will decide whether to initiate its investigation on May 28, 2019.

In addition to these petitions, President Trump ratcheted pressure on China in trade negotiations.  The pressure came as a result of accusations that China back-tracked on previous agreements made during the negotiations.  President Trump indicated that his Administration would raise tariffs this Friday, May 10, on $200 billion worth of goods to 25 percent from the current 10 percent rate.  He also threatened to impose a new round of tariffs on $325 billion of additional Chinese goods.

The Federal Register notice implementing the tariff increase indicates that USTR shall institute a process that allows parties to request exclusion of specific products affected by the tariff increases.  American businesses are caught between challenging the tariffs, paying higher prices to import the goods, or reconsidering their current supply chain in order to avoid hefty costs.