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United States Court of International Trade Sends Commerce Department Decision on Korean Diamond Sawblades Back to Agency

October 28, 2013

The United States Court of International Trade (CIT) last week released a public version of its decision sending the United States Department of Commerce’s determination in the antidumping duty investigation on Korean diamond sawblades back to the agency, finding that the agency had failed to fully explain aspects of its duty calculations and to support them with substantial record evidence.  The decision creates the possibility that Korean diamond sawblades, which were subject to an antidumping order from 2009 to 2011, will once again be subject to antidumping duty liability.

The Department of Commerce imposed antidumping duties on Korean diamond sawblades and sawblade parts in November 2009.  The agency subsequently lifted the duties effective as of October 2011 pursuant to a challenge mounted by the South Korean government at the World Trade Organization (WTO), which called into question one of the calculation methodologies originally employed by the department.  While Korean diamond sawblades have entered the United States duty-free since 2012, these entries remain potentially subject to duties based on the final resolution of a U.S. industry challenge to the original investigation results.  Resolution of the issues identified by the CIT in its opinion may subject Korean sawblades entered after October 24, 2011, to duties.

Daniel B. Pickard, a partner in Wiley Rein’s International Trade Practice and counsel to the domestic industry, stated that “we are highly gratified by the court’s opinion, which agreed with the U.S. industry that the agency’s calculations are flawed.  We believe that further proceedings at the agency will result in a determination that fully recognizes the amount of dumping by Korean sawblade producers.” 

In rendering its decision, the CIT expressly stated that any decision the Department of Commerce makes regarding the issues identified in the court’s opinion could result in re-imposition of the antidumping duty order.  The CIT found that a number of the agency’s original calculation decisions were unexplained or unsupported by the record evidence.  The court further found that just as the errors that the Department of Commerce addressed pursuant to South Korea’s WTO challenge reduced Korean duty margins below the point at which antidumping liability could attach, so could the errors identified by the U.S. industry raise those duty margins to the point where duties would once again come into play.

Accordingly, the court’s decision could have substantial consequences for any individual that imported Korean diamond sawblades from late 2011 to the present.  Commenting on the decision, Mr. Pickard said, “The Department of Commerce properly found in 2009 that Korean producers were dumping their sawblades in the U.S. market, injuring U.S. producers. That dumping, and that injury, continues to this day.  We are hopeful that the Department of Commerce’s reconsideration of its calculations will provide the U.S. industry with the relief it deserves.”