On September 28, 2022, the Coalition of Freight Coupler Producers – McConway & Torley LLC and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (Petitioners) – filed petitions with the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of freight rail couplers (FRC) and parts from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Mexico.

These petitions follow antidumping and countervailing investigations instituted at the request of the Petitioners in September 2021 concerning imports of FRC systems and components from the PRC. Those investigations resulted in an ITC negative injury finding in July 2022 and no trade remedy duties when the ITC determined that the domestic industry was not materially injured or threatened with material injury by reason of imports of subject merchandise because, inter alia, there was no casual nexus between subject imports and the domestic industry’s declining performance during the period of investigation.

In the petitions filed this week, the Petitioners allege that imports of subject merchandise from the PRC and Mexico are being or likely to be sold at less than normal value in the United States and that imports from the PRC benefit from countervailable subsidies, causing material injury to the domestic FRC industry and threatening further material injury if trade remedy duties are not imposed. The Petitioners allege a dumping margin of more than 115% and 165% for imports from China and Mexico, respectively. The Petitioners also allege that Chinese FRC producers are benefiting from more than 30 subsidy programs.

Notably, these petitions include a modified proposed scope covering FRCs and parts, including certain knuckles and bodies, that meet or exceed the AAR specifications of M-211, “Foundry and Product Approval Requirements for the Manufacture of Couplers, Coupler Yokes, Knuckles, Follower Blocks, and Coupler Parts,” and/or AAR M-215, “Coupling Systems,” or other equivalent domestic or international standards (including any revisions to the standard(s)). For a copy of the proposed scope, please contact us.

Commerce will determine by October 18, 2022, whether to formally initiate the investigations, and, if it does, the ITC will decide 25 days after that whether there is a reasonable indication of material injury or threat of material injury to the domestic FRC industry and whether the investigations should be continued or terminated.