U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently ruled that a company importing aluminum door thresholds from China could be evading the U.S. government’s antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on extrusions from that country.

On May 17, 2018, CBP announced interim measures against Columbia Aluminum Products following an investigation into violations of the Enforce and Protect Act (EAPA).

In January 2018, North Carolina-based Endura Products, which makes door components, filed an allegation claiming that Columbia was evading the AD/CVD orders on aluminum extrusions. Endura said it provided evidence showing that Columbia was importing extruded aluminum door thresholds from China and improperly classifying them as “wall plates” to avoid duties. According to the evidence presented by Endura, Columbia began importing substantial volumes of “wall plates” in place of door thresholds from one of its regular Chinese suppliers of thresholds, but Columbia neither advertised nor appeared to sell products called “wall plates.”

Endura also alleged that Columbia was evading duties by importing material subject to the AD/CVD orders on aluminum extrusions that was transshipped through Vietnam. Around the same time Columbia started importing substantial volumes of “wall plates” from China, Columbia began importing significant quantities of door thresholds from a supplier in Vietnam, Houztek Architectural Products.

CBP found that there is reasonable suspicion of evasion and imposed interim measures on Columbia.  These include rate-adjusting unliquidated entries of subject merchandise and requiring “live entry” for all future imports, meaning that all entry documents and duties must be provided before cargo is released by CBP. CBP is also rejecting unliquidated entry summaries submitted prior to its notice, suspending liquidation for any unliquidated entry that entered on or after the date of initiation of the investigation, and extending the period for liquidation for all unliquidated entries that entered before that date.

“We are pleased with CBP’s decision, which is a critical step in addressing the unfair practices we have seen from our competitors,” said Bruce Procton, president of Endura Products. “We are heartened by the administration’s aggressive efforts to address this type of rampant cheating and evasion. These efforts are critical for ensuring that American jobs are not harmed from unfair trade. In the final phase of the proceeding on door thresholds, we urge CBP to take all necessary measures to ensure that the AD/CVD orders on aluminum extrusions are being fully enforced.”

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