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Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping Duties and Countervailing Duties on Certain Fabricated Structural Steel from China, Canada and Mexico - Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP

I.  Type of Action:  Antidumping Duty (“AD”) and Countervailing Duty (“CVD”): China, Canada, and Mexico

II. Product:  The merchandise covered by this investigation includes carbon and alloy (including stainless) steel products such as angles, columns, beams, girders, plates, flange shapes (including manufactured structural shapes utilizing welded plates as a substitute for rolled wide flange sections), channels, hollow structural section (HSS) shapes, base plates, plate-work components, and other steel products that have been fabricated for assembly or installation into a structure (fabricated structural steel). Fabrication includes, but is not limited to, cutting, drilling, welding, joining, bolting, bending, punching, pressure fitting, molding, adhesion, and other processes.

Fabricated structural steel products included in the scope of this investigation are products in which: (1) iron predominates, by weight, over each of the other contained elements; and (2) the carbon content is two percent or less by weight.

Fabricated structural steel is covered by the scope of the investigation regardless of whether it is painted, varnished, or coated with plastics or other metallic or non-metallic substances.  Fabricated structural steel may be either assembled; disassembled, but containing characteristics or items, such as holes, fasteners, nuts, bolts, rivets, screws, tongue and grooves, hinges, or joints, so that the product(s) may be joined, attached, or assembled to one or more additional product(s); or partially assembled, such as into modules, modularized construction units, or sub-assemblies of fabricated structural steel.

Products under investigation include carbon and alloy steel products that have been fabricated for erection or assembly into structures, including but not limited to, buildings (commercial, office, institutional, and multi-family residential); industrial and utility projects; parking decks; arenas and convention centers; medical facilities; and ports, transportation and infrastructure facilities.

Subject merchandise includes fabricated structural steel that has been assembled or further processed in the subject country or a third country, including but not limited to painting, varnishing, trimming, cutting, drilling, welding, joining, bolting, punching, bending, beveling, riveting, galvanizing, coating, and/or slitting or any other processing that would not otherwise remove the merchandise from the scope of the Investigation if performed in the country of manufacture of the fabricated structural steel.

Fabricated structural steel may be attached, joined, or assembled with non-steel components at the time of importation. The inclusion, attachment, joining, or assembly of non-steel components with fabricated structural steel does not remove the fabricated structural steel from the scope.

All products that meet the written physical description are within the scope of this investigation unless specifically excluded. Specifically excluded from the scope of this investigation is certain fabricated steel concrete reinforcing bar (“rebar”). Fabricated rebar is excluded from the scope only if (i) it is a unitary piece of fabricated rebar, not joined, welded, or otherwise connected with any other steel product or part; or (ii) it is joined, welded, or otherwise connected only to other rebar.

Also excluded from this scope is fabricated structural steel used for bridges and bridge sections. For the purpose of this scope, fabricated structural steel used for bridges and bridge sections is defined as fabricated structural steel that is used in bridges and bridge sections and that conforms to American Association of State and Highway and Transportation Officials (“AASHTO”) bridge construction requirements or any state or local derivatives of the AASHTO bridge construction requirements.

Also excluded from this scope are pre-engineered metal building systems. For the purposes of this scope, pre-engineered metal building systems are defined as complete metal buildings that integrate steel framing, roofing and walls to form one, pre-engineered building system and are designed and manufactured to Metal Building Manufacturers Association guide specifications. Pre-engineered metal building systems are typically limited in height to no more than 60 feet or two stories.

Also excluded from this scope are steel roof and floor decking systems designed and manufactured to Steel Deck Institute standards. Also excluded from the scope are open web steel bar joists and joist girders that are designed and manufactured to Steel Joist Institute specifications.

III.  HTS classifications:  FSS is currently classified under the following HTSUS subheadings: 7308.90.9590, 7308.90.3000, and 7308.90.6000. FSS may also enter under the following HTSUS subheadings: 7216.91.0010, 7216.91.0090, 7216.99.0010, 7216.99.0090, 7228.70.6000, 7301.10.0000, 7301.20.1000, 7301.20.5000, 7308.40.0000, 7308.90.9530, and 9406.90.0030.

Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and U.S. Customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise under investigation is dispositive. Excerpts from the current HTSUS are attached as Exhibit 1-6. The most favored nation duty rate for imports under these HTSUS subheadings is free for all HTSUS subheadings except 9406.90.0030, which has an ad valorem rate of 2.9 percent. The tariff numbers are provided for the convenience of the U.S. Government and do not define the scope of the Petitions.

IV.  Date of Filing: February 4, 2019

V.   Petitioners: American Institute of Steel Construction, LLC

VI.  Foreign Producers/Exporters:  Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VII. US Importers named:  Please contact our office for a list filed with the petition.

VIII. Alleged Dumping Margins (No CVD Margins Listed):

PRC: 218.85%;
Canada: 31.46%;
Mexico: 41.39%

IX.  Comments:

A.  Projected date of ITC Preliminary Conference: February 25, 2019.

B.  The earliest theoretical date for retroactive suspension of liquidation for the AD is April 15, 2019; CVD is February 24, 2019.  Please contact our office for a complete projected schedule for the AD and CVD investigation.

C.  Volume and Value of Imports:  Please contact our office for a summary of the data filed with the petition.

D.  List of Alleged Subsidy Programs:  Please contact our office for a list of alleged subsidy programs.

If you have questions regarding how this investigation may impact future imports of scope merchandise or whether a particular product is within the scope of the investigation, please contact one of our attorneys. 


NMFS Imports of fish and fish products from Mexico: Updated List of Designated Officials - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Federal Register on August 28, 2018, entitled “Implementation of Import Restrictions; Certification of Admissibility for Certain Fish Products from Mexico¨ (83 FR 43796). A United States Court of International Trade (CIT) order (Slip-Op 18-92) imposed immediate import restrictions on fish and fish products of Mexican origin caught with gillnets deployed in the native geographic range of the critically endangered Vaquita porpoise, listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Under the August 14, 2018 court order, an import ban was placed on certain fish and fish products from Mexico (chano, sierra, curvina, and shrimp) that were caught with gillnets deployed in the Northern Gulf of California. To implement the court order, NOAA mandates that imports  of shrimp, fish and fish products of Mexican origin that are entered under designated HTS codes must be accompanied by “Certification of Admissibility” signed by a duly authorized Official of the Mexican Government.

Beginning on October 15, 2018, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) requirements for the import of shrimp, fish and fish products of Mexican Origin must be accompanied with the “Certification of Admissibility” (OMB 0648-0651) identifying that the imported commodity was not harvested using gillnets in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico.  The Certification of Admissibility must contain a valid signature from one of the Officials Designated by the Government of Mexico.  The list of Officials Designated by the Government of Mexico authorized to sign the Certification of Admissibility has been updated as of February 4, 2019 (see link below).  The submission of the Certification of Admissibility may be done through electronic transfer into ACE DIS using DIS Code “NM23”, email, fax, or in paper to the CBP port of entry.  All import of shrimp, fish and fish products from Mexico without a valid Certification of Admissibility or valid disclaim will be refused entry.

Disclaimer Process
Disclaimed commodities are exempted from the submission of the Certification of Admissibility only for processed commodities filed under HTS codes 2309.90 or 2309.10, or HTS code 0511.99.3060.  The importer can make this disclaimer by submitting the statement “the commodity under HTS (list the applicable HTS code) does not contain shrimp or fish products” via ACE/DIS using code “NM23”, email, fax, or submitted in paper to the CBP port of entry.  All regulated commodities not filed under the HTS codes 2309.90 or 2309.10, or HTS code 0511.99.3060 must provide the Certification of Admissibility to meet NMFS requirements.

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comments on whether it should repeal, amend, or retain the Guides for Select Leather and Imitation Leather Products (Leather Guides) as part of its systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides.

Issued in 1996, the Leather Guides address misrepresentations about the composition and characteristics of specific leather and imitation leather products. The Leather Guides apply to the manufacture, promotion, and distribution of leather and imitation leather purses, luggage, wallets, footwear, and other items, and they state that marketers selling imitation leather products should disclose that the products are not genuine leather.

The notice seeks comment on the continuing need for the Leather Guides, including whether deceptive or unfair advertising and marketing practices are still used to sell leather and imitation leather products, and whether the Leather Guides should cover products that are not currently included—such as automotive and furniture upholstery products.

The Commission vote to approve the Federal Register Notice was 5-0. The notice will be published in the Federal Register soon. Instructions for filing comments appear in the Federal Register Notice, and comments must be received within 60 days after publication. They will be posted at www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments. (FTC File No. P188014; the staff contact is James R. Golder, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 214-979-9376.)​


CBP Issues Detention Order on Tuna Harvested by Forced Labor Aboard the Tunago No. 61 -  U.S. Customs & Border Protection

WASHINGTON — On February 4, 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a withhold release order against tuna and tuna products from the Tunago No. 61 based on information obtained by CBP indicating tuna is harvested with the use of forced labor. The order is effective immediately as of the date of issuance.

The order will require detention at all U.S. ports of entry of tuna and any such merchandise manufactured wholly or in part by the Tunago No. 61. Importers of detained shipments are provided an opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

Under 19 U.S.C. § 1307 it is illegal to import into the United States goods made, in whole or in part, by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor. CBP issues withhold release orders when information available reasonably indicates that imported merchandise is in violation of this statute.

Additional information, including how to submit information to CBP may be found at
www.cbp.gov/trade/trade-community/programs-outreach/convict-importations.


FDA Pursues Order Barring Specific Retailers from Selling Tobacco Products as Part of its Continuing Efforts to Target Youth Tobacco Use - Food & Drug Administration

Agency escalates enforcement action against local Walgreens, Circle K retail locations for repeatedly selling tobacco products to minors

Statement

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today initiated enforcement action against certain retail locations of Walgreen Co. and Circle K Stores Inc. for repeated violations of restrictions on the sale and distribution of tobacco products, including sales of cigars and menthol cigarettes to minors. The agency filed complaints seeking No-Tobacco-Sale Orders (NTSO), which seek to bar the two specific retail locations from selling tobacco products for 30 days. The two retail outlets that are the subject of these NTSO actions are a Walgreens store in Miami, Florida, and a Circle K store in Charleston, South Carolina. Notably, Walgreens is currently the top violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with 22 percent of the stores inspected having illegally sold tobacco products to minors.

“I will be writing the corporate management of Walgreens and requesting a meeting with them to discuss whether there is a corporate-wide issue related to their stores’ non-compliance and put them on notice that the FDA is considering additional enforcement avenues to address their record of violative tobacco sales to youth. We all share the important responsibility of keeping harmful and addictive tobacco products out of the hands of kids. Retailers in particular – especially those who position themselves as health-and-wellness-minded businesses – are on the frontlines of these efforts and must take that legal obligation seriously. I’m also deeply disturbed that a single pharmacy chain racked up almost 1,800 violations for selling tobacco products to minors across the country. I have particular concerns about whether the pharmacy setting is influencing consumer and retailer perceptions around tobacco products in a way that’s contributing to these troubling findings,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “The FDA will continue to hold retailers accountable by vigorously enforcing the law. We are also evaluating our data on other large, national retail chains to identify other entities that also have high rates of repeat violations and are considering what additional measures we should pursue. While many of our recent enforcement actions focused on the illegal sales and marketing of e-cigarettes, today’s announcement is a reminder that youth access to all tobacco products remains a public health problem. No child should be using any tobacco or nicotine-containing product. And no retailer should be illegally selling these products to minors. As part of our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, we’ll continue to employ all the tools at our disposal to monitor, penalize and prevent sales of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to minors at brick-and-mortar stores and Internet storefronts as we work to ensure these products are sold in ways that make them less accessible and appealing to kids.”

An estimated 4.9 million middle and high school students reported current (past 30 days) use of any tobacco product in 2018, according to preliminary results of the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. An epidemic-level rise in e-cigarette use over the last year has led overall tobacco product use to increase by 38 percent among high school students (to 27.1 percent) and by 29 percent among middle school students (to 7.2 percent) in the last year, reversing the declines seen in the last few years.

Because tobacco use is almost always initiated and established during adolescence, early intervention ‒ including making sure tobacco products aren’t being sold to kids ‒ is critical. One of the ways the FDA combats youth tobacco use is through its compliance and enforcement efforts. In particular, the agency provides education and training opportunities to retailers to encourage compliance with restrictions on sales to minors, monitors compliance through surveillance, inspections and investigations, and then takes action when violations occur.

When violations are found, the agency generally issues warning letters and may take enforcement actions, including civil money penalties and NTSOs. Since its retailer enforcement program began in 2010, the FDA has issued more than 81,570 warning letters to retailers for violating the law, initiated more than 19,800 civil money penalty cases and issued 145 NTSOs, as of Dec. 31, 2018.

The NTSO action against this Walgreens outlet follows the issuance of more than 1,550 warning letters and 240 civil money penalty actions against Walgreens stores nationwide for unlawful tobacco product sales to minors. This is, however, the first NTSO action taken against a Walgreens store. While the NTSO action against Circle K is not its first, it marks the first time the agency has initiated an NTSO complaint for the sale of deemed products (cigars) to minors. Since 2010, the FDA has issued over 1,045 warning letters and 205 civil money penalty actions to retailers doing business as Circle K for sales to minors. To put Walgreens’ rate of violations into perspective, among other national, corporate-owned chains, 17.5 percent of Walmart Inc. stores inspected had violations for illegal sales of tobacco products to minors. Additionally, 14 percent of Dollar General Corp. stores inspected, and 9.6 percent of Rite Aid Corp. stores inspected had illegally sold tobacco products to minors.

Under the law, the FDA may pursue an NTSO against a retail outlet that has committed a total of five or more repeated violations of federal tobacco regulations within 36 months. After the FDA initiates an NTSO action by filing a complaint, a retailer has the opportunity to respond to the complaint, and must generally do so within 30 days. Retailers who receive an NTSO complaint from the FDA may enter into a settlement agreement or respond with an answer and contest the allegations before an administrative law judge. If an NTSO goes into effect, a retailer is responsible for ensuring that the establishment does not sell tobacco products during the specified period. Removing or covering up tobacco products are examples of steps that a retailer may choose to take to ensure compliance with an NTSO, but these specific actions are not required. It is up to the retailer to decide what measures to take to ensure no regulated tobacco products are sold at the store during the time period specified in the order. The FDA plans to conduct unannounced compliance check inspections during that period to check whether each establishment is complying with the terms of the order and will take further action if necessary. Consumers and other interested parties can report a potential tobacco-related violation of the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act, including sale of tobacco products to minors, by using the FDA’s Potential Tobacco Product Violation Reporting Form.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

 
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