Commerce Issues Final Re-Determination of Duty Rates Calculated for Vietnamese Exporter Affiliate of Ocean Duke; Re-Opens Sunset Review to Consider Evidence of Fraud

In response to a decision by the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Department of Commerce today published the Final Results of a re-conducted administrative review calculating antidumping duties owed on shrimp imports from Grobest & I-Mei Industrial (Vietnam) Co., Ltd. (“Grobest”).

In August 2010, Commerce published the final results of its administrative review of Vietnamese shrimp imports entered into the United States between February 1, 2008 and January 31, 2009.  In that review, Commerce individually reviewed imports from two Vietnamese companies (Seaprodex Minh Hai and the Minh Phu Group) made during that time period.  All other Vietnamese exporters participating in the proceeding were assigned antidumping duty rates based on the average rate calculated for those two companies.  Grobest, which had asked to be individually reviewed, was assigned a 3.92% antidumping duty rate.

Grobest challenged Commerce’s determination at the Court of International Trade, arguing that the agency was obligated to individually review the company’s shipments under a provision of the statute discussing voluntary respondents.  The Court agreed with Grobest and Commerce responded in October 2012 by publishing notice of the re-conduct of the administrative review, this time to directly address imports of shrimp from Grobest.

Earlier in 2012, the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee had alerted Commerce to evidence that had come to light in unrelated criminal proceedings that representations made by Ocean Duke Corp.’s Chinese affiliate to the agency were inaccurate and false.  This evidence led to Commerce seeking additional information from both Ocean Duke and its Chinese affiliate, Hilltop International, regarding its affiliations in third-countries and its sourcing patterns in response to the antidumping duty orders.

Shortly after the re-conduct of the administrative review on Grobest, Ocean Duke’s affiliate in Vietnam, was announced, the company informed Commerce that it no longer wished to have its shrimp import entries individually reviewed and asked the agency to end the proceeding.  The Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee opposed Grobest’s request, arguing that the law and procedural setting of the re-conduct required Commerce to conduct the review.  Commerce rejected Grobest’s request and asked the company to provide information regarding its sales.  Grobest refused to provide information, insisting that Commerce end the administrative review.

In the final results of the re-conducted administrative review, Commerce found that there was no basis for rescinding the proceeding and that Grobest had failed to cooperate in the administrative review.  Accordingly, Commerce was unable to individually review shrimp imports from Grobest and assigned a final antidumping duty rate of 25.76% — a duty rate more than six and a half times what the company was initially assigned prior to its successful lawsuit at the Court of International Trade.

The final results of the re-conducted administrative review, like the final results of the original proceeding, may be appealed to the Court of International Trade.

In the decision memorandum accompanying the final results, Commerce also addressed arguments presented by the Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee regarding evidence related to Ocean Duke’s activities:

With respect to Domestic Producers’ allegation that Grobest’s lack of cooperation should be viewed in light of the scheme to evade antidumping duties by shipping Vietnamese shrimp through Cambodia and declaring it to be the product of Cambodia, Domestic Producers referenced the information that is on the record of another proceeding, but did not place it on the record of this review. Therefore, we do not find that this re-conducted administrative review is the correct venue to address this allegation. However, we take this allegation seriously and intend to consider whether it would be appropriate to otherwise address it in the context of this antidumping duty order.

 

Consistent with that observation, Commerce also today published a Federal Register notice reopening the first “sunset” review of the antidumping duty order on shrimp from Vietnam.  In that proceeding, Vietnamese shrimp exporters argued that Vietnamese shrimp “import volume declines occurred because of supply and demand issues.”  However, the evidence regarding Ocean Duke’s activities suggested “the existence of a multi-year transnational scheme to avoid payment of ADs on Vietnamese shrimp” which was “potentially relevant to the issues considered in the sunset review, including whether dumping is likely to continue or recur if the” antidumping duty order is revoked.

Interested parties have been invited to submit comments on the new information now placed on the record of the “sunset” review no later than 30 days from today.

Read the Federal Register notice publishing the final results of the re-conduct of the Grobest administrative review here:

https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Final-Results-of-Reconduct-of-Administrative-Review-Vietnam-Fed-Reg-Notice-Published.pdf

 

Read the Issues and Decision Memorandum accompanying the final results of the re-conduct of the Grobest administrative review here:

https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Final-Results-of-Reconduct-of-Administrative-Review-Vietnam-IDM.pdf

 

Read the Federal Register notice re-opening the record of the sunset review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp from Vietnam here:
https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/DoC-Reopening-of-Sunset-Review-Vietnam-Published.pdf

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