Articles Posted in International Trade

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Irwin imported several styles of hand tools, including straight jaw locking pliers, large jaw locking pliers, curved jaw locking pliers with and without wire cutters, and long nose locking pliers with wire cutters. U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified Irwin’s tools as “wrenches” under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheading 8204.12.00 and denied each of Irwin’s protests to classify them as “pliers” under 8203.20.6030. The Trade Court granted Irwin summary judgment that the tools are properly classified as pliers. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The term pliers is not defined by use; it refers to a versatile hand tool with two handles and two jaws that are flat or serrated and are on a pivot, which must be squeezed together to enable the tool to grasp an object. The Irwin tools “1) are versatile hand tools, 2) have two handles, and 3) have two jaws, that are flat or serrated and are on a pivot, which can be squeezed together to enable the tools to grasp an object.” View "Irwin Industrial Tool Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Court of International Trade sustained the remand determination of the Department of Commerce in the first administrative review of the antidumping duty order on large power transformers from Korea. The Federal Circuit affirmed, upholding Commerce’s determination to not make a circumstances of sale adjustment to normal value under 19 U.S.C. 1677b(a)(6)(C)(iii) in the form of a commission offset. Hyundai, the party seeking the adjustment, incurred no commission expenses on home market sales and no commission expenses outside the United States on U.S. sales but did incur commission expenses inside the United States on constructed export price sales in the United States. View "ABB, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Commerce Department issued antidumping and countervailing duty orders covering aluminum extrusions from China under 19 U.S.C. 1671,. In a previous case, the Federal Circuit upheld Commerce's ruling that the orders applied to certain imports of portions of “curtain wall”—the non-structural cladding of certain buildings such as office towers, composed of panels having aluminum frames and glass or other sheathing material, with the panels attached to steel, concrete, or other structural building elements. While that case was pending in the Court of International Trade, Yuanda sought a scope ruling that the orders do not cover curtain wall units when imported under a contract for an entire curtain wall. Commerce rejected that position. The Court of International Trade and the Federal Circuit affirmed, first rejecting an argument that two parties lacked constitutional standing because the challenged decision pertains only to Yuanda’s merchandise. The orders exclude “subassemblies” only if they are “imported as part of the finished goods ‘kit," and “all of the necessary curtain wall units are imported at the same time.” That requirement focuses on the physical contents of the “packaged combination” at a particular time, not on contractual obligations that might link one packaged combination to another, later-entering one. Commerce properly found that the curtain wall units as entered were not ready for installation “as is.” View "Shenyang Yuanda Aluminum Industry Engineering Co., Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The U.S. Department of Commerce, on remand, imposed countervailing and anti-dumping duties (19 U.S.C. 1671) on the importation of solar cells and modules, laminates, and/or panels, containing solar cells imported or sold for importation from China. In defining the class or kind of merchandise within the scope of the orders, Commerce used a new test, rather than the typically-used “substantial transformation” test, to determine the country of origin. If Commerce had used the substantial transformation test, it would have concluded that the country of cell production confers origin because the process of assembling the solar cells into solar panels does not substantially transform those solar cells. The Court of International Trade and the Federal Circuit upheld that determination as supported by substantial evidence. The Tariff Act does not require Commerce to define the “class or kind of [foreign] merchandise” in any particular manner. It is reasonable to use the country where the merchandise was assembled to define the class or kind of merchandise within the scope of the orders—especially where, as here, the very imports found to cause injury due to unfair pricing and/or subsidies were panels assembled in China containing cells produced in other countries. View "Canadian Solar, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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The U.S. Department of Commerce conducted an administrative review and a new shipper review of the antidumping duty order on freshwater crawfish tail meat from China, then imposed anti-dumping duties under 19 U.S.C. 1673. The U.S. Court of International Trade sustained Commerce’s calculations of weighted average dumping margins for each respondent. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Substantial evidence supports Commerce’s determination that the Oceana Report is the best available information on the record to value the surrogate financial Ratios. That report, prepared by a South African company, “is a significant producer of comparable merchandise.” Commerce noted that the Oceana Report was “contemporaneous with the [period of review]” and “contains the necessary information for [Commerce] to calculate appropriate financial ratios. View "China Kingdom (Beijing) Import & Export Co., Ltd. v. United States" on Justia Law

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified ADC's imported merchandise under Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) Subheading 9013.80.90, which bears a duty rate of 4.5% ad valorem and covers “other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter.” The merchandise at issue “consists of fiber optic telecommunications network equipment” and “is included in [ADC’s VAMs] product line.” ADC argued that the merchandise should be classified under HTSUS Subheading 8517.62.00, which bears a duty-free rate, and covers “[t]elephone sets, including telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks” and “other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data." The Trade Court upheld the classification. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The merchandise falls within HTSUS Heading 9013’s definition of optical appliances or instruments. View "ADC Telecommunications, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Doorknobs with integral locks, imported by Home Depot, were classified by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as locks under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) heading 8301. Home Depot argued that the products should have been classified under HTSUS heading 8302 as metal fittings for doors, including metal doorknobs. The International Trade Court affirmed. The Federal Circuit vacated, holding that the products are properly classified as composite goods within the meaning of HTSUS General Rule of Interpretation 3(b). The court remanded to the Trade Court to make a finding as to the “essential nature” of the composite goods, as directed by GRI 3(b), in order to determine under which of the two competing headings the goods should be classified. The two headings “each refer to part only” of the materials in the composite goods, and, according to GRI 3(a), the competing headings must be regarded as equally specific. View "Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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In 2012 the Department of Commerce issued an antidumping duty order, covering Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells, Whether or Not Assembled into Modules, from the People’s Republic of China. In 2014, Commerce initiated a requested review, limited to the two largest Chinese exporters of that merchandise by volume, Wuxi and Yingli, 19 U.S.C. 1677f-1(c)(2) . Commerce's Final Results calculated a weighted-average dumping margin for Yingli of 0.79%, based in part on its selection of surrogate values for each factor of production, including aluminum frames, and semi-finished polysilicon ingots and blocks. For aluminum frames, Commerce selected a value derived from import data based on Thai Harmonized Tariff Schedule Heading 7604 for “[a]luminum bars, rods[,] and profiles,” other than those specifically provided for in other subheadings at a comparable level, For semi-finished polysilicon ingots and blocks, Commerce selected the “world market price for polysilicon of $18.19 per kilogram.” SolarWorld sued, arguing that Commerce should have calculated a higher antidumping margin for Yingli and erred by undervaluing the surrogate values for Yingli’s inputs. The Trade Court and Federal Circuit affirmed Commerce’s final results of remand redetermination. Commerce’s selection of surrogate values for both aluminum frames and semi-finished polysilicon ingots and blocks is supported by substantial evidence and otherwise in accordance with law. View "SolarWorld Americas, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Laerdal, which manufactures and distributes medical devices, filed a complaint at the International Trade Commission asserting violations of 19 U.S.C. 1337 by infringement of Laerdal’s patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights by importing, selling for importation, or selling within the U.S. certain medical devices. The Commission investigated Laerdal’s trade dress claims, one patent claim, two copyright claims, and one trademark claim, excluding all others. Despite being served with notice, no respondent responded. An ALJ issued the Order to Show Cause. Respondents did not respond. An ALJ issued an initial determination finding all respondents in default. Laerdal modified its requested relief to immediate entry of limited exclusion orders and cease and desist orders. The Commission requested briefing on remedies, the public interest, and bonding. The Commission's final determination granted Laerdal limited exclusion orders against three respondents and a cease and desist order against one, based on patent and trademark claims; it issued no relief on trade dress and copyright claims, finding Laerdal’s allegations inadequate. As to trade dress claims, the Commission found that Laerdal failed to plead sufficiently that it suffered the requisite harm, the specific elements that constitute its trade dresses, and that its trade dresses were not functional; despite approving the ALJ’s initial determination of default and despite requesting supplemental briefing solely related remedy, the Commission issued no relief on those claims. The Federal Circuit vacated. The Commission violated 19 U.S.C. 1337(g)(1) by terminating the investigation and issuing no relief for its trade dress claims against defaulting respondents. View "Laerdal Medical Corp. v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law

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The 753 trademark, issued to Converse in 2013, describes the trade-dress configuration of three design elements on the midsole of Converse’s All Star shoes. Converse filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC), alleging violations of 19 U.S.C. 337 by various companies in the importation into the U.S., the sale for importation, and the sale within the U.S. after importation of shoes that infringe its trademark. The ITC found the registered mark invalid and that Converse could not establish the existence of common-law trademark rights, but nonetheless stated that various accused products would have infringed Converse’s mark if valid. The Federal Circuit vacated. The ITC erred in failing to distinguish between alleged infringers who began infringing before Converse obtained its trademark registration and those who began afterward. With respect to the pre-registration period, Converse, as the party asserting trade-dress protection, must establish that its mark had acquired secondary meaning before the first infringing use by each alleged infringer. In addition, the ITC applied the wrong legal standard in its determination of secondary meaning. On remand, the ITC should reassess the accused products to determine whether they are substantially similar to the mark in the infringement analysis. View "Converse, Inc. v. International Trade Commission" on Justia Law