U.S. CUSTOMS TO PUBLISH LIST OF U.S. ENTITIES INJURED BY DUMPING
U.S. Customs will publish on Jan. 10 a list of domestic manufacturers, labor unions and trade associations that have petitioned the federal government for relief as a result of financial injury caused by imports dumped on the market.
The International Trade Commission recently compiled and forwarded a list of 360 dumping investigations in effect on Jan. 1, 1999, to Customs. The list identifies the Commerce case numbers, in addition to providing product descriptions, subject countries, and affected U.S. entities.
“We have asked the Secretary of Commerce to identify all such orders for which there are pending administrative reviews and will forward those additions to the list as soon as we receive them,” said ITC Chairman Stephen Koplan in a letter to Customs.
The dumping cases cover an array of products, from Canadian brass sheets and strips to Italian pasta, which were sold by overseas companies on the U.S. market at below domestic wholesale prices.
Once dumping is discovered, Customs imposes enough duty on the imports to offset the below-market value of the product. The government then can provide relief to injured domestic entities through the collected duties.
Attention was raised on this issue after Congress passed the so-called Byrd Amendment, proposed by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W. Va., in the fiscal 2001 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment allows for the distribution of antidumping and countervailing duties to firms that are involved in these legal cases.
The import industry has complained bitterly that it was caught off guard by the legislation. Industry groups, such as the American Association of Exporters and Importers, attempted to stop the Byrd Amendment’s passage.
AAEI warned that the legislation could result in U.S. conflicts with the World Trade Organization and deteriorating relations with overseas trade partners. The association also said the legislation could cause an unusual increase in trade litigation and other frivolous actions.
Customs said it’s only doing its job as mandated by the Byrd Amendment. “We have a law in place and we’re moving ahead with it,” said Dennis Murphy, spokesman for Customs in Washington. The agency will develop a mechanism for dispersing money to the injured firms.
To access the dumping case list, log on Customs’ Internet Web site: http://www.customs.gov, and click on “Importing & Exporting.” Customs said it’s publishing the list under the auspices of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act (EFOIA).
An earlier list published by Customs under EFOIA created a stir in the industry because companies that had voluntarily tendered underpayments to the agency were listed with companies that paid penalties.
Before issuing the dumping list, Customs officials said they are taking steps to avoid similar mistakes in future electronic publishings.