March 8th, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the affirmative preliminary determination in the countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of imports of forged steel fittings from China, finding that exporters in China received countervailable subsidies equal to 13.79 percent.
The Commerce Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of forged steel fittings from China based on these preliminary rates.
“This announcement is separate from today’s the steel and aluminum tariff’s announced by President Trump as a result of the Department’s 232 investigations,” said Secretary Ross. “We will continue to review all information related to this preliminary determination while standing up for American workers and companies.”
In 2016, imports of forged steel fittings from China were valued at an estimated $78.4 million.
The petitioners are Bonney Forge Corporation (Mount Union, PA), and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (Pittsburgh, PA).
Enforcement of U.S. trade law is a prime focus of the Trump administration. From January 20, 2017, through March 8, 2018, the Commerce Department has initiated 102 antidumping and countervailing duty investigations – a 96 percent increase from the same period in 2016- 2017.
CVD law provides U.S. businesses and workers with an internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief from the harmful effects of unfair subsidization of imports into the United States. Commerce currently maintains 418 antidumping and countervailing duty orders which provide relief to American companies and industries impacted by unfair trade.
Commerce is currently scheduled to announce its final CVD determination on July 24, 2018.
If the Commerce Department makes an affirmative final determination in this investigation and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) makes an affirmative final injury determination, Commerce will issue a CVD order. If the Commerce Department makes a negative final determination or the ITC makes a negative final determination of injury, the investigation will be terminated and no order will be issued.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enforcement and Compliance unit within the International Trade Administration is responsible for vigorously enforcing U.S. trade laws and does so through an impartial, transparent process that abides by international rules and is based solely on factual evidence.
Imports from companies that receive unfair subsidies from their governments in the form of grants, loans, equity infusions, tax breaks and production inputs are subject to “countervailing duties” aimed at directly countering those subsidies.
Section 232 investigations help to determine the effects of imports on America’s national security and give the President the ability to address any threats to national security by restricting imports through tariffs.
Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, as amended, gives the executive branch the ability to conduct investigations to “determine the effects on the national security of imports.” Within 270 days of initiating any investigation, the Commerce Department issues a report to the President with the investigation’s findings, including whether certain imports threaten to impair America’s national security. The President has 90 days to determine whether he concurs with the findings and, if so, to use his statutory authority under Section 232 “to adjust the imports” as necessary, including through tariffs or quotas.
President Donald J. Trump has accepted the Commerce Department’s recent conclusion that imported steel and aluminum “threaten to impair the national security,” and is taking action to protect America.
In January 2018, the Department of Commerce delivered the Section 232 reports on steel and aluminum to the President. In February 2018, the Commerce Department publicly released Section 232 reports on imported steel and aluminum. The reports concluded that the quantities and circumstances of steel and aluminum imports “threaten to impair the national security,” as defined by Section 232. The reports found that United States steel imports were nearly four times our exports, and that aluminum imports had risen to 90% of total demand for primary aluminum. The Commerce Department recommended that President Trump take action to protect the long-term viability of our nation’s steel and aluminum industries.
Following President Trump’s signing of a Presidential Proclamation imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum products from certain countries, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross released the following statement:
“President Trump is taking action today to protect both our national security and industries critical to our economy. The President’s decision regarding the steel and aluminum Section 232 reports are the result of a long and well-thought-out process led by the Commerce Department. Once again, President Trump is keeping his promises and standing up for American families, American businesses, and American workers.”