Federal Circuit - Scope of antidumping duty order on nails from China included in mixed-media toolkit 

July 18: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today vacated and remanded a case concerning a scope ruling related to an antidumping order imposed on nails imported from China, when such nails are included in a mixed-media toolkit with other merchandise not subject to the order. Mid Continent Nail Corp. v. United States, 2012-1682 (Fed. Cir. July 18, 2013)

Read the Federal Circuit’s decision [PDF 139 KB]

Background

At issue was whether certain merchandise (here, nails) packaged and imported together with non-subject merchandise (assorted household tools) as part of a “mixed media” item (a tool kit) would be subject to an antidumping order whose terms covers the included merchandise (nails), and makes no exception for mixed media items.


At the request of the importer, Commerce initially issued a scope ruling, concluding that the subject brass-plated steel nails included in the household tool kits were not within the scope of the antidumping order.


The plaintiff (a U.S. domestic manufacturer) challenged Commerce’s scope ruling determination before the trade court, which vacated Commerce’s findings because the court found no clear language in the final antidumping order addressing mixed media items. The matter was returned to Commerce, which eventually (after another round of litigation) adopted the trade court’s position and revised the ruling to comply with the trade court’s holding, interpreting the order so that the antidumping duty order covered the nails included within the tool kits.

Federal Circuit

On appeal, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the case to the trade court, with instructions for further remand in order for Commerce to revisit its mixed-media determination in light of a requirement that any implicit mixed-media exception to the literal scope of the antidumping order must be based on pre-existing public sources.


The Federal Circuit disagreed with the position of the trade court that Commerce is foreclosed by the broad language of an antidumping order from interpreting the order to exclude nails included within mixed-media tool kits. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit remanded with a note that Commerce’s antidumping orders must be written in general terms; that each case must be decided on its particular facts; and that Commerce has considerable discretion in interpreting its own orders.



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