The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (Commerce or ITA) has announced the self-initiation of inquiries into possible circumvention involving exports of certain corrosion-resistant steel products (CORE) made with substrate from China or Taiwan, completed in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and then exported to the United States. In undertaking these inquiries, ITA will determine whether imports of CORE completed in each of these countries using Chinese-origin substrate, or imports of CORE completed in Malaysia using Taiwanese-origin substrate, are circumventing the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on CORE from China or the AD order on CORE from Taiwan.

AD/CVD circumvention inquiries are typically initiated in response to allegations made by the U.S. industry. However, Commerce’s regulations allow for a self-initiated inquiry when ITA determines from available information that an inquiry is warranted. In its announcement, Commerce noted that this is the first time it has self-initiated circumvention inquiries “based on its own monitoring of trade patterns, and the first self-initiation of multi-country circumvention inquiries.” ITA data indicate that imports of CORE from these countries into the United States increased in value by 29,210 percent (Costa Rica), 35,944 percent (Guatemala), 151,216 percent (Malaysia), 629 percent (South Africa) and 5,571 percent (UAE) over a 45-month period before and after the initiations of the original AD/CVD investigations on Chinese and Taiwanese CORE in 2016.

If ITA preliminarily determines that circumvention is occurring, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be instructed to begin collecting cash deposits on imports of CORE completed in these countries using Chinese-origin or Taiwanese-origin substrate. These duties would be imposed on future imports, and on any unliquidated entries since the date Commerce initiated these circumvention inquiries.