The U.S. Department of Commerce took another step forward in its investigation of steel flanges from China and India, announcing affirmative preliminary determinations in its countervailing duty (CVD) investigation on Wednesday evening.
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In its release covering the announcement, the department once again touted its uptick in trade cases considered since President Trump took office.
“With a 58 percent increase in trade cases initiated since President Trump took office, this Administration has made it a clear priority to defend domestic businesses from unfair trade practices,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in the release. “Today’s preliminary decision allows U.S. producers to receive relief from the market-distorting effects of potential government subsidies while we continue our investigation.”
The department calculated countervailable subsidies of 174.73%, and from 5.00% to 239.61%, for China and India, respectively. A countervailable subsidy is “financial assistance from a foreign government that benefits the production of goods from foreign companies and is limited to specific enterprises or industries, or is contingent either upon export performance or upon the use of domestic goods over imported goods,” the department’s fact sheet on the case explains.
Imports of steel flanges in 2017 were estimated to be valued at a total of $48.4 million from the two countries, according to the release.
The domestic petitioners in the case are the Coalition of American Flange Producers and its individual members: Core Pipe Products, Inc. (of Carol Stream, Illinois) and Maass Flange Corporation (of Houston, Texas). The petitions were filed Aug. 16, 2017, and the Department of Commerce initiated its investigation Sept. 5. The U.S. International Trade Commission then delivered its preliminary determinations Sept. 30.
The Chinese respondents in the case were: Both Well (Jiangyan) Steel Fittings Co., Ltd., Hydro Fluid Controls Ltd., Jiangyin Shengda Brite Line Kasugai Flange Co., Ltd., and Qingdao I-Flow Co., Ltd.
According to the department, it calculated the countervailable subsidy rate based on “adverse facts available” due to the companies’ “failure to fully cooperate” in the investigation.
Commerce calculated a rate for the Indian respondents under similar circumstances.
“In the India investigation, Commerce has calculated a preliminary subsidy rate of 239.61 percent for mandatory respondent Bebitz Flanges Works, based on adverse facts available due to the company’s failure to fully cooperate in the investigation., and a preliminary subsidy rate of 5.00 percent for mandatory respondent Echjay Forgings Private Limited,” the department’s fact sheet states. “Commerce preliminarily determined a rate of 5.00 percent for all other Indian producers and exporters.”
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The Department of Commerce is scheduled to make a final CVD determination in the case against China on April 3, and May 29 for India.