CIT Rules with Department of Commerce in Closing Longstanding Legal Challenge

June 6th, 2022 by Travis Rains

More than a half dozen Chinese aluminum extrusion producers saw their legal challenge to a nearly decade-old United States Department of Commerce ruling fall short before Judge Leo Gordon of the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) in early May 2022.

The United States Court of International Trade (CIT) issued a ruling agreeing with a 60% countervailing tariff on more than a half dozen Chinese aluminum extrusion producers originally handed down by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2013. Plaintiffs, led by Taizhou United Imp. and Exp. Co. Ltd., argued in their challenge to the ruling that the Chinese government cooperated with the department’s investigation.

However, court documents read that the Chinese government “failed to cooperate by not acting to the best of its ability,” according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. On May 10, Judge Gordon noted a “significant gap in the record left by the GOC’s (Government of China’s) failure to act to the best of its ability to provide all the information requested by Commerce.”

He, therefore, sustained the department’s determination that the producers of glass and aluminum extrusions purchased by plaintiffs constitute governmental authorities. The finding comes as key information, such as business licenses and tax documents, was reportedly not provided to the department while it attempted to trace ownership of the enterprises to individual owners.

The May 2022 finding from Judge Gordon also backed the department’s ruling that those producers’ aluminum and glass purchases constituted illegal subsidies after Beijing reportedly failed to note specific industries served by those purchases.

According to court documents, plaintiffs argued that the use for glass in China is widespread and not specific to any individual industry or industries, with consumers being “highly varied within the economy.”

But the U.S. Department of Commerce wrote that the government of China failed to provide information such as amounts purchased by individual industries. According to court documents, the department used the Chinese government’s list of possible product uses to determine that those products could fall into between two and four industries. When plaintiffs pointed to precedent in arguing against the department’s ruling, Judge Gordon wrote that those arguments failed to “engage with the merits” of the 2013 findings.

The judge then denied the plaintiff’s remaining challenges to the final order issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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