Monday, April 11, 2016

Fair Trade Update: 5-Year Sunset Review Timeline

If you weren’t in San Antonio last month for our special Fair Trade meeting and our impromptu Town Hall meeting, then you missed the most informative and impactful live discussions we’ve had in many years.  During those sessions we covered everything from the curtain wall case to China 2016.  The announcement from the Department of Commerce (DOC) that they were launching a circumvention case against China Zhongwang and the Chinese aluminum extruders for using the so-called 5050 alloy added a fiery backdrop to our dialogue.

This year is pivotal for our case.  In a matter of weeks we will learn from the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the DOC whether they will want a full Sunset Review or not in this, the five-year anniversary of the trade orders.  We anticipate that it will be a full review, and we are preparing for that eventuality.  While confidence is high that we will be granted another five years, we cannot take that for granted.  Our first order of business is to collect industry data very quickly and get it to our attorneys at Wiley Rein.  Here is a summary of the timeline:

  • DOC and ITC will publish their initiation notices on or around April 1, 2016
  • We will have 30 days after the publication of the notice of initiation (approximately May 1) by which to file our substantive responses
  • If the DOC conducts a full sunset review, we can expect its preliminary determination to be issued around July 20 and its final determination to be issued around the end of November (and possibly as late as the end of February 2017)

If a full sunset review is conducted on the ITC side, we can expect a final determination around the end of March 2017. In such a case, the industry will need to prepare to submit additional questionnaire responses and engage in a full briefing and hearing schedule, which the ITC will publish when we get closer to those events.

Now, let’s go back to the circumvention case.  I believe we are entering the beginning of the end-game on the 5000-series alloy issue. After waiting for two-plus years to learn if the DOC would call these extrusions ‘in scope’, we finally got our decision.  The DOC determined that 5050 alloy was out of scope, but they immediately launched the circumvention investigation we asked for against Zhongwang last October.  What we were especially pleased to learn was that the DOC has agreed to not only investigate Zhongwang, but also all exporters and importers of the alloy.  This gives us a chance of settling this once and for all.

Members also learned the story behind the Court of International Trade’s recent decision to remand the DOC on their decision in the curtain wall case.  We learned what lies ahead in that regard, the timeline, and the legal strategy.  I won’t discuss that further in this forum, but I am happy to take your calls on the matter.

Likewise, we learned more about the status of our scope clarification/circumvention petition regarding the supposed aluminum pallets.  I won’t go into details here, but attendees were briefed on our strategy moving forward.

For now, the key issue is to submit your data to Wiley Rein.  There will be more to follow, so stay tuned.  And again, without your continued support, none of this would be happening.