Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar From Mexico: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Circumvention of the Antidumping Duty Order, 15430-15433 [2020-05608]

Download as PDF 15430 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 53 / Wednesday, March 18, 2020 / Notices Notification to Interested Parties We are issuing and publishing this notice in accordance with sections 781(a) and 777(i) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.213(h) and 351.221(b)(5). Dated: March 11, 2020. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. [FR Doc. 2020–05609 Filed 3–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A–201–844] Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar From Mexico: Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Circumvention of the Antidumping Duty Order Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. SUMMARY: We preliminarily determine that steel concrete reinforcing bar (rebar) from Mexico that is bent on one or both ends and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope merchandise—if produced and/or exported by Deacero S.A.P.I. de C.V. (Deacero) to the United States—is circumventing the antidumping duty order on rebar from Mexico. DATES: Applicable March 18, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Hall-Eastman, Office III, Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–1468. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: AGENCY: Background On September 15, 2014, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) published antidumping duty (AD) Order on rebar from Mexico.1 On October 18, 2019, in response to a request from the Rebar Trade Action Coalition (the petitioner),2 Commerce initiated a circumvention inquiry into whether imports of otherwise straight rebar bent on one or both ends (also referred to as hooked rebar) that is produced and/or jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 1 See Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Final Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances, 79 FR 54967 (September 15, 2014) (Order). 2 See Petitioner’s Letter, ‘‘Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Request for Scope Ruling or, Alternatively, an Anti-Circumvention Ruling,’’ dated September 3, 2019. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 exported to the United States by Deacero and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope merchandise, constitutes merchandise ‘‘altered in form or appearance in minor respects’’ from in-scope merchandise that should be considered subject to AD Order on rebar from Mexico.3 Commerce also indicated that it would examine ‘‘whether to apply the results of this anti-circumvention inquiry to imports of similarly situated other straight rebar bent at one or both ends from Mexico regardless of producer or exporter.’’ 4 For a complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this review, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.5 Scope of the Order The merchandise subject to this Order is steel concrete reinforcing bar imported in either straight length or coil form (rebar) regardless of metallurgy, length, diameter, or grade. The subject merchandise is classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) primarily under item numbers 7213.10.0000, 7214.20.0000, and 7228.30.8010. The subject merchandise may also enter under other HTSUS numbers including 7215.90.1000, 7215.90.5000, 7221.00.0017, 7221.00.0018, 7221.00.0030, 7221.00.0045, 7222.11.0001, 7222.11.0057, 7222.11.0059, 7222.30.0001, 7227.20.0080, 7227.90.6085, 7228.20.1000, and 7228.60.6000. Specifically excluded are plain rounds (i.e., non-deformed or smooth rebar). Also excluded from the scope is deformed steel wire meeting ASTM A1064/A1064M with no bar markings (e.g., mill mark, size or grade) and without being subject to an elongation test. HTSUS numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes; however, the written description of the scope remains dispositive. Scope of the Circumvention Inquiry The merchandise subject to this circumvention inquiry consists of otherwise straight steel concrete reinforcing bar bent on one or both ends and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope merchandise under the 3 See Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Initiation of Anti-Circumvention Inquiry of Antidumping Duty Order; 84 FR 58132 (October 30, 2019), and accompanying Initiation Memorandum. 4 Id., Initiation Memorandum at 8–9. 5 See Memorandum, ‘‘Affirmative Preliminary Decision Memorandum of Circumvention Concerning Certain Hooked or Bent Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar Produced and/or Exported by Deacero S.A.P.I. de C.V,’’ dated concurrently with, and hereby adopted by, this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum). PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Order produced and/or exported by Deacero from Mexico to the United States. The petitioner’s December 27, 2019 filing stated that: the issues present in this anticircumvention inquiry are limited to deterring circumvention of the order due to modification of straight length with a hook or bend that is easily removable, has no commercially relevant purpose, and is not designed to an industry standard design for incorporation into a specific construction project. Petitioner does not attempt to include all fabricated products in the scope of the order as minor alterations and this issue is not before the Department.6 The petitioner’s January 31, 2020 filing further noted that ‘‘the issue before the Department is whether Deacero’s sales to (a particular customer) circumvented the order.’’ 7 Unlike for Deacero, we preliminarily find there is no evidence on the record of this inquiry indicating that other Mexican producers are exporting hooked rebar to the United States that did not have a connection to a specific, identified construction project. Therefore, we have not applied our preliminary affirmative finding to hooked rebar country-wide.8 Statutory and Regulatory Framework Section 781(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), which deals with minor alterations of merchandise, states that: (1) In general: The class or kind of merchandise subject to (A) an investigation under this title, (B) an antidumping duty order issued under section 736, (C) a finding issued under the Antidumping Act, 1921, or (D) a countervailing duty order issued under section 706 or section 303, shall include articles altered in form or appearance in minor respects (including raw agricultural products that have undergone minor processing), whether or not included in the same tariff classification. (2) Exception. Paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to altered merchandise if the administering authority determines that it would be unnecessary to consider the altered merchandise within the scope of the investigation, order, or finding. As stated under 19 CFR 351.225(a), issues may arise as to whether a particular product is included within the scope of an AD or countervailing duty (CVD) order or a suspended investigation. Such issues can arise 6 See Petitioner’s Letter ‘‘Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Response to Deacero December 10, 2019 Comments,’’ dated December 27, 2019, at 2. 7 See Petitioner’s Letter, ‘‘Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Response to Deacero’s January 15, 2020 Comments,’’ dated January 31, 2020, at 9. 8 For further information, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. E:\FR\FM\18MRN1.SGM 18MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 53 / Wednesday, March 18, 2020 / Notices because the descriptions of subject merchandise contained in Commerce’s determinations must be written in general terms. At other times, a domestic interested party may allege that a change to an imported product or the place where the imported product is assembled constitutes circumvention under section 781 of the Act. When such issues arise, Commerce conducts circumvention inquiries that clarify the scope of an order or suspended investigation with respect to particular products. Pursuant to section 781(c) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.225(i), Commerce may include within the scope of an AD or CVD order articles altered in form or appearance in minor respects. While the statute is silent regarding what factors to consider in determining whether alterations are properly considered ‘‘minor,’’ the legislative history of this provision indicates that there are certain factors which should be considered before reaching a circumvention determination. Previous circumvention cases 9 have relied on the factors listed in the Senate Finance Committee report on the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (which amended the Act to include the circumvention provisions contained in section 781 of the Act), which states: {i}n applying this provision, the Commerce Department should apply practical measurements regarding minor alterations, so that circumvention can be dealt with effectively, even where such alterations to an article technically transform it into a differently designated article. The Commerce Department should consider such criteria as the overall physical characteristics of the merchandise, the expectations of the ultimate users, the use of the merchandise, the channels of marketing and the cost of any modification relative to the total value of the imported products.10 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES In the case of an allegation of a ‘‘minor alteration’’ under section 781(c) of the Act, it is Commerce’s practice to look at the five factors listed in the Senate Finance Committee report to 9 See, e.g., Final Determination of Circumvention of the Antidumping Order: Cut-to-Length Carbon Steel Plate From Canada, 66 FR 7617, 7618 (January 24, 2001)) (CTL Plate from Canada), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum (IDM) at Comment 4, in which Commerce discusses its application of the factors discussed in the Senate Finance Committee report; see also Final Results of Anti-Circumvention Review of Antidumping Order: Corrosion-Resistant Carbon Steel Flat Products From Japan, 68 FR 33676, 33677 (June 5, 2003); and Affirmative Final Determination of Circumvention of the Antidumping Duty Order on Certain Cut-toLength Carbon Steel Plate From the People’s Republic of China, 74 FR 40565, 40566 (August 12, 2009), and accompanying IDM. 10 See Omnibus Trade Act of 1987, Report of the Senate Finance Committee, S. Rep. No. 71, 100th Cong., 1st Sess. 100 (1987). VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:22 Mar 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 determine if circumvention exists in a particular case.11 Preliminary Determination We preliminarily determine that hooked rebar and straight rebar are not significantly dissimilar in terms of overall physical characteristics of the merchandise, the expectations of the ultimate users, the use of the merchandise, channels of marketing, and the timing and circumstances under which Deacero exported the hooked rebar. We also preliminarily determine that, based on the information submitted by Deacero, there is a significant dissimilarity in production costs between the hooked rebar and straight rebar. Because we find that hooked rebar and straight rebar are not significantly dissimilar as regards the first four criteria, and based on the timing and circumstances under which Deacero exported the hooked rebar, we preliminarily determine that the hooked rebar at issue produced and/or exported by Deacero constitutes merchandise ‘‘altered in form or appearance in minor respects’’ from in-scope merchandise, within the meaning of section 781(c)(1) of the Act.12 Also, we preliminarily determine there is no evidence on the record of this inquiry indicating that other Mexican producers and exporters of hooked rebar to the United States are circumventing the AD Order on rebar from Mexico. Further, unlike Aluminum Extrusions,13 where Commerce applied a circumvention finding country-wide, there are no arguments or information on the record that demonstrates the need for Commerce to extend our preliminary findings to all Mexican producers.14 Suspension of Liquidation In accordance with section 351.225(l)(2) of Commerce’s regulations, we will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of otherwise straight steel concrete reinforcing bar bent on one or both ends and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope merchandise under the Order that is produced and/or exported to the United States by Deacero that are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, 11 See, e.g., CTL Plate from Canada IDM at Comment 4. 12 For additional information, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. 13 See Aluminum Extrusions from the People’s Republic of China: Final Affirmative Determination of Circumvention of the Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Orders, and Partial Rescission, 84 FR 39805 (August 12, 2019) (Aluminum Extrusions), and accompanying IDM at 18. 14 For additional information, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum. PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15431 for consumption on or after October 18, 2019, the date of the initiation of this inquiry. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.225(l)(2), we will also instruct CBP to require a cash deposit of estimated duties equal to the AD rate in effect for Deacero for each unliquidated entry of otherwise straight steel concrete reinforcing bar bent on one or both ends and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope merchandise under the Order that is produced and/or exported to the United States by Deacero on or after October 18, 2019.15 The suspension of liquidation instructions will remain in effect until further notice. Hooked rebar produced and/or exported by Deacero that has been sold in connection with a specific, identified construction project and produced according to an engineer’s structural design, consistent with industry standards, is not subject to this inquiry. However, imports of such merchandise are subject to certification requirements, and cash deposits may be required if the certification requirements are not satisfied. Accordingly, if an importer imports hooked rebar from Mexico produced and/or exported by Deacero and claims that the hooked rebar has been sold in connection with a specific, identified construction project and produced according to an engineer’s structural design, consistent with industry standards, the importer is required to meet the certification and documentation requirements described in Appendices II and III, in order for cash deposits pursuant to the Mexico rebar order not to be required. Public Comment Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination of circumvention and may submit case briefs and/or written comments within 20 days of the publication of this notice.16 Interested parties may file rebuttal briefs limited to issues raised in the case briefs no later than 10 days after the date on which the case briefs are due.17 Interested parties may request a hearing within 20 days of the publication of this notice. Interested parties will be notified by Commerce of the location and time of any hearing, if one is requested. Notification to Interested Parties This affirmative preliminary circumvention determination is in 15 See Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016–2017, 84 FR 35599 (July 24, 2019). 16 See 19 CFR 351.225(f)(3). 17 Id. E:\FR\FM\18MRN1.SGM 18MRN1 15432 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 53 / Wednesday, March 18, 2020 / Notices accordance with section 781(c) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.225. Dated: February 28, 2020. Jeffrey I. Kessler, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Statutory and Regulatory Framework V. Analysis A. Whether the Hooked Rebar at Issue Constitutes Merchandise Altered in Form or Appearance in Minor Respects B. Certification Language VI. Recommendation Appendix II Certification Requirements If an importer imports otherwise straight rebar bent on one or both ends (hooked rebar) from Mexico produced and/or exported by Deacero and claims that the hooked rebar has been sold in connection with specific, identified construction project and produced according to an engineer’s structural design, consistent with industry standards, the importer is required to complete and maintain the importer certification attached hereto as Appendix III and all supporting documentation. Where the importer uses a broker to facilitate the entry process, the importer should obtain the entry number from the broker. Agents of the importer, such as brokers, however, are not permitted to make this certification on behalf of the importer. For shipments and/or entries from October 18, 2019 through March 29, 2020, if a certification is required, importers should complete the required certification within 30 days of the publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Accordingly, where appropriate, the relevant bullet in the certification should be edited to reflect that jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Producer 18:54 Mar 17, 2020 Appendix III Importer Certification I hereby certify that: Entry summary No. • I understand that {NAME OF IMPORTING COMPANY} is required to maintain a copy of this certification and sufficient documentation supporting this certification (i.e., documents maintained in the normal course of business, or documents obtained by the certifying party, for example, mill certificates, production records, invoices, etc.) for the later of (1) a period of five years from the date of entry or (2) a period of three years after the conclusion of any litigation in the United States courts regarding such entries. • I understand that {NAME OF IMPORTING COMPANY} is required to provide this certification and supporting VerDate Sep<11>2014 the certification was completed within the time frame specified above. For example, the bullet in the importer certification that reads: ‘‘This certification was completed at or prior to the time of entry,’’ could be edited as follows: ‘‘The imports referenced herein entered before March 30, 2020. This certification was completed on mm/dd/yyyy, within 30 days of the Federal Register notice publication of the preliminary determination of circumvention.’’ For such entries/ shipments, importers have the option to complete a blanket certification covering multiple entries/shipments, individual certifications for each entry/shipment, or a combination thereof. For shipments and/or entries on or after March 30, 2020, if a certification is required, importers should complete the certification at or prior to the date of entry. The importer is also required to maintain sufficient documentation supporting its certifications. The importer will not be required to submit the certifications or supporting documentation to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of the entry process at this time. However, the importer will be required to present the certifications and supporting documentation to Commerce and/or CBP, as applicable, upon request by the respective agency. Additionally, the claims made in the certifications and any supporting documentation are subject to verification by Commerce and/or CBP. The importer is required to maintain the certification and supporting documentation for the later of: (1) A period of five years from the date of entry, or (2) a period of three years after the conclusion of any litigation in United States courts regarding such entries. In the situation where no certification is provided for an entry, Commerce intends to instruct CBP to suspend liquidation of the entry and collect cash deposits at the rate applicable to Deacero. Jkt 250001 Entry summary line item No. records, upon request, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and/or the Department of Commerce (Commerce). • I understand that the claims made herein, and the substantiating documentation, are subject to verification by CBP and/or Commerce. • I understand that failure to maintain the required certifications, and/or failure to substantiate the claims made herein, and/or failure to allow CBP and/or Commerce to verify the claims made herein, may result in a determination that all entries to which this certification applies are within the scope of the antidumping duty order on steel concrete PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • My name is {IMPORTING COMPANY OFFICIAL’S NAME} and I am an official of {IMPORTING COMPANY}; • I have direct personal knowledge of the facts regarding the importation into the Customs territory of the United States of the otherwise straight rebar bent on one or both ends (hooked rebar) from Mexico produced and/or exported by Deacero S.A.P.I. (Deacero) that entered under entry number(s), identified below, and which are covered by this certification. ‘‘Direct personal knowledge’’ for purposes of this certification refers to facts in records maintained by the importing company in the normal course of its business. • The hooked rebar covered by this certification was produced and/or exported by Deacero. If the importer is acting on behalf of the first U.S. customer, complete this paragraph: • The hooked rebar from Mexico produced and/or exported by Deacero covered by this certification was imported by {NAME OF IMPORTING COMPANY} on behalf of {NAME OF U.S. CUSTOMER}, located at {ADDRESS OF U.S. CUSTOMER}. • The hooked rebar from Mexico produced and/or exported by Deacero covered by this certification was shipped to {NAME OF PARTY TO WHOM MERCHANDISE WAS FIRST SHIPPED IN THE UNITED STATES}, located at {ADDRESS OF SHIPMENT}. • I have personal knowledge of the facts regarding the production of hooked rebar from Mexico produced and/or exported by Deacero identified below. ‘‘Personal knowledge’’ includes facts obtained from another party (e.g., correspondence received by the importer from the producer regarding the country of manufacture of the imported products). • The hooked rebar from Mexico was produced and/or exported by Deacero. • The imports of hooked rebar have been sold in connection with a specific, identified construction project and produced according to an engineer’s structural design, consistent with industry standards. • This certification applies to the following entries: Invoice No. Invoice line item No. reinforcing bar from Mexico. I understand that such finding could result in: Æ Suspension of liquidation of all unliquidated entries (and entries for which liquidation has not become final) for which these requirements were not met; Æ the requirement that the importer post applicable antidumping duty cash deposits (as appropriate) equal to the rates determined by Commerce; and Æ the revocation of {NAME OF IMPORTING COMPANY}’s privilege to certify future imports of steel concrete reinforcing bar from Mexico. E:\FR\FM\18MRN1.SGM 18MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 53 / Wednesday, March 18, 2020 / Notices • I understand that agents of the importer, such as brokers, are not permitted to make this certification. • This certification was completed at or prior to the time of entry. • I am aware that U.S. law (including, but not limited to, 18 U.S.C. 1001) imposes criminal sanctions on individuals who knowingly and willfully make materially false statements to the U.S. government. Signature NAME OF COMPANY OFFICIAL TITLE DATE [FR Doc. 2020–05608 Filed 3–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C–570–118] Wood Mouldings and Millwork Products From the People’s Republic of China: Postponement of Preliminary Determination in the Countervailing Duty Investigation Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce. DATES: Applicable March 18, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Irene Gorelik or Faris Montgomery, AD/ CVD Operations, Office VIII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–6905 or (202) 482–1537, respectively. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: AGENCY: Background On January 28, 2020, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) initiated a countervailing duty (CVD) investigation of imports of wood mouldings and millwork products (millwork products) from the People’s Republic of China.1 Currently, the preliminary determination is due no later than April 2, 2020. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Postponement of Preliminary Determination Section 703(b)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), requires the Department to issue the preliminary determination in a countervailing duty investigation within 65 days after the date on which Commerce initiated the investigation. However, section 703(c)(1) of the Act permits Commerce 1 See Wood Mouldings and Millwork Products from the People’s Republic of China: Initiation of Countervailing Duty Investigation, 85 FR 6513 (February 5, 2020) (Initiation Notice). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 17, 2020 Jkt 250001 to postpone the preliminary determination until no later than 130 days after the date on which Commerce initiated the investigation if: (A) The petitioner makes a timely request for a postponement; or (B) Commerce concludes that the parties concerned are cooperating, that the investigation is extraordinarily complicated, and that additional time is necessary to make a preliminary determination. Under 19 CFR 351.205(e), the petitioner must submit a request for postponement 25 days or more before the scheduled date of the preliminary determination and must state the reasons for the request. Commerce will grant the request unless it finds compelling reasons to deny the request. On March 6, 2020, the petitioner 2 submitted a timely request that Commerce postpone the preliminary CVD determination.3 The petitioner stated that it requests postponement ‘‘because additional time will be necessary to receive questionnaire responses and to ensure that the Department {of Commerce} has sufficient time to review all responses and request clarification and additional information as necessary.’’ 4 In accordance with 19 CFR 351.205(e), the petitioner has stated the reasons for requesting a postponement of the preliminary determination, and Commerce finds no compelling reason to deny the request. Therefore, in accordance with section 703(c)(1)(A) of the Act, Commerce is postponing the deadline for the preliminary determination to no later than 130 days after the date on which this investigation was initiated, i.e., June, 8, 2020.5 Pursuant to section 705(a)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(1), the deadline for the final determination of this investigation will continue to be 75 days after the date of the preliminary determination. Notification to Interested Parties This notice is issued and published pursuant to section 703(c)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(f)(1). 2 The petitioner is the Coalition of American Millwork Producers. 3 See Petitioner’s Letter, ‘‘Wood Mouldings and Millwork Products from the People’s Republic of China: Request to Postpone Preliminary Determination,’’ dated March 6, 2020. 4 Id. 5 Postponing the preliminary determination to 130 days after initiation would place the deadline on Saturday, June 6, 2020. Commerce’s practice dictates that where a deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, the appropriate deadline is the next business day. See Notice of Clarification: Application of ‘‘Next Business Day’’ Rule for Administrative Determination Deadlines Pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930, As Amended, 70 FR 24533 (May 10, 2005). PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15433 Dated: March 12, 2020. Jeffrey I. Kessler, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. [FR Doc. 2020–05610 Filed 3–17–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [RTID 0648–XA087] Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meetings. AGENCY: The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) and its advisory entities will hold public meetings. DATES: The Pacific Council and its advisory entities will meet April 4–10, 2020. The Pacific Council meeting will begin on Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 8 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), reconvening at 8 a.m. each day through Friday, April 10, 2020. All meetings are open to the public, except a closed session will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Sunday, April 5, to address litigation and personnel matters. The Pacific Council will meet as late as necessary each day to complete its scheduled business. ADDRESSES: Meetings of the Pacific Council and its advisory entities will be held at the Hilton Vancouver, 301 West 6th Street, Vancouver, WA; telephone: (360) 993–4500. Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220. Instructions for attending the meeting via live stream broadcast are given under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, below. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Chuck Tracy, Executive Director; telephone: (503) 820–2280 or (866) 806– 7204 toll-free; or access the Pacific Council website, http:// www.pcouncil.org for the current meeting location, proposed agenda, and meeting briefing materials. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The April 5–10, 2020 meeting of the Pacific Council will be streamed live on the internet. The broadcasts begin initially at 9 a.m. PDT Sunday, April 5, 2020 and continue at 8 a.m. daily through Friday, April 10, 2020. Broadcasts end when SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\18MRN1.SGM 18MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 53 (Wednesday, March 18, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15430-15433]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-05608]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

International Trade Administration

[A-201-844]


Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar From Mexico: Affirmative 
Preliminary Determination of Circumvention of the Antidumping Duty 
Order

AGENCY: Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, 
Department of Commerce.

SUMMARY: We preliminarily determine that steel concrete reinforcing bar 
(rebar) from Mexico that is bent on one or both ends and otherwise 
meeting the description of in-scope merchandise--if produced and/or 
exported by Deacero S.A.P.I. de C.V. (Deacero) to the United States--is 
circumventing the antidumping duty order on rebar from Mexico.

DATES: Applicable March 18, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Hall-Eastman, Office III, 
Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, International Trade 
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue 
NW, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-1468.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On September 15, 2014, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) 
published antidumping duty (AD) Order on rebar from Mexico.\1\ On 
October 18, 2019, in response to a request from the Rebar Trade Action 
Coalition (the petitioner),\2\ Commerce initiated a circumvention 
inquiry into whether imports of otherwise straight rebar bent on one or 
both ends (also referred to as hooked rebar) that is produced and/or 
exported to the United States by Deacero and otherwise meeting the 
description of in-scope merchandise, constitutes merchandise ``altered 
in form or appearance in minor respects'' from in-scope merchandise 
that should be considered subject to AD Order on rebar from Mexico.\3\ 
Commerce also indicated that it would examine ``whether to apply the 
results of this anti-circumvention inquiry to imports of similarly 
situated other straight rebar bent at one or both ends from Mexico 
regardless of producer or exporter.'' \4\ For a complete description of 
the events that followed the initiation of this review, see the 
Preliminary Decision Memorandum.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Final 
Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Final Affirmative 
Determination of Critical Circumstances, 79 FR 54967 (September 15, 
2014) (Order).
    \2\ See Petitioner's Letter, ``Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar 
from Mexico: Request for Scope Ruling or, Alternatively, an Anti-
Circumvention Ruling,'' dated September 3, 2019.
    \3\ See Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Initiation 
of Anti-Circumvention Inquiry of Antidumping Duty Order; 84 FR 58132 
(October 30, 2019), and accompanying Initiation Memorandum.
    \4\ Id., Initiation Memorandum at 8-9.
    \5\ See Memorandum, ``Affirmative Preliminary Decision 
Memorandum of Circumvention Concerning Certain Hooked or Bent Steel 
Concrete Reinforcing Bar Produced and/or Exported by Deacero 
S.A.P.I. de C.V,'' dated concurrently with, and hereby adopted by, 
this notice (Preliminary Decision Memorandum).
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Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to this Order is steel concrete reinforcing 
bar imported in either straight length or coil form (rebar) regardless 
of metallurgy, length, diameter, or grade. The subject merchandise is 
classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States 
(HTSUS) primarily under item numbers 7213.10.0000, 7214.20.0000, and 
7228.30.8010.
    The subject merchandise may also enter under other HTSUS numbers 
including 7215.90.1000, 7215.90.5000, 7221.00.0017, 7221.00.0018, 
7221.00.0030, 7221.00.0045, 7222.11.0001, 7222.11.0057, 7222.11.0059, 
7222.30.0001, 7227.20.0080, 7227.90.6085, 7228.20.1000, and 
7228.60.6000. Specifically excluded are plain rounds (i.e., non-
deformed or smooth rebar). Also excluded from the scope is deformed 
steel wire meeting ASTM A1064/A1064M with no bar markings (e.g., mill 
mark, size or grade) and without being subject to an elongation test. 
HTSUS numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes; 
however, the written description of the scope remains dispositive.

Scope of the Circumvention Inquiry

    The merchandise subject to this circumvention inquiry consists of 
otherwise straight steel concrete reinforcing bar bent on one or both 
ends and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope merchandise 
under the Order produced and/or exported by Deacero from Mexico to the 
United States. The petitioner's December 27, 2019 filing stated that:

    the issues present in this anti-circumvention inquiry are 
limited to deterring circumvention of the order due to modification 
of straight length with a hook or bend that is easily removable, has 
no commercially relevant purpose, and is not designed to an industry 
standard design for incorporation into a specific construction 
project. Petitioner does not attempt to include all fabricated 
products in the scope of the order as minor alterations and this 
issue is not before the Department.\6\
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    \6\ See Petitioner's Letter ``Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar 
from Mexico: Response to Deacero December 10, 2019 Comments,'' dated 
December 27, 2019, at 2.

    The petitioner's January 31, 2020 filing further noted that ``the 
issue before the Department is whether Deacero's sales to (a particular 
customer) circumvented the order.'' \7\ Unlike for Deacero, we 
preliminarily find there is no evidence on the record of this inquiry 
indicating that other Mexican producers are exporting hooked rebar to 
the United States that did not have a connection to a specific, 
identified construction project. Therefore, we have not applied our 
preliminary affirmative finding to hooked rebar country-wide.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ See Petitioner's Letter, ``Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar 
from Mexico: Response to Deacero's January 15, 2020 Comments,'' 
dated January 31, 2020, at 9.
    \8\ For further information, see the Preliminary Decision 
Memorandum.
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Statutory and Regulatory Framework

    Section 781(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), 
which deals with minor alterations of merchandise, states that:

    (1) In general: The class or kind of merchandise subject to (A) 
an investigation under this title, (B) an antidumping duty order 
issued under section 736, (C) a finding issued under the Antidumping 
Act, 1921, or (D) a countervailing duty order issued under section 
706 or section 303, shall include articles altered in form or 
appearance in minor respects (including raw agricultural products 
that have undergone minor processing), whether or not included in 
the same tariff classification. (2) Exception. Paragraph (1) shall 
not apply with respect to altered merchandise if the administering 
authority determines that it would be unnecessary to consider the 
altered merchandise within the scope of the investigation, order, or 
finding.

    As stated under 19 CFR 351.225(a), issues may arise as to whether a 
particular product is included within the scope of an AD or 
countervailing duty (CVD) order or a suspended investigation. Such 
issues can arise

[[Page 15431]]

because the descriptions of subject merchandise contained in Commerce's 
determinations must be written in general terms. At other times, a 
domestic interested party may allege that a change to an imported 
product or the place where the imported product is assembled 
constitutes circumvention under section 781 of the Act. When such 
issues arise, Commerce conducts circumvention inquiries that clarify 
the scope of an order or suspended investigation with respect to 
particular products. Pursuant to section 781(c) of the Act and 19 CFR 
351.225(i), Commerce may include within the scope of an AD or CVD order 
articles altered in form or appearance in minor respects.
    While the statute is silent regarding what factors to consider in 
determining whether alterations are properly considered ``minor,'' the 
legislative history of this provision indicates that there are certain 
factors which should be considered before reaching a circumvention 
determination. Previous circumvention cases \9\ have relied on the 
factors listed in the Senate Finance Committee report on the Omnibus 
Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (which amended the Act to include 
the circumvention provisions contained in section 781 of the Act), 
which states:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ See, e.g., Final Determination of Circumvention of the 
Antidumping Order: Cut-to-Length Carbon Steel Plate From Canada, 66 
FR 7617, 7618 (January 24, 2001)) (CTL Plate from Canada), and 
accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum (IDM) at Comment 4, in 
which Commerce discusses its application of the factors discussed in 
the Senate Finance Committee report; see also Final Results of Anti-
Circumvention Review of Antidumping Order: Corrosion-Resistant 
Carbon Steel Flat Products From Japan, 68 FR 33676, 33677 (June 5, 
2003); and Affirmative Final Determination of Circumvention of the 
Antidumping Duty Order on Certain Cut-to-Length Carbon Steel Plate 
From the People's Republic of China, 74 FR 40565, 40566 (August 12, 
2009), and accompanying IDM.

    {i{time} n applying this provision, the Commerce Department 
should apply practical measurements regarding minor alterations, so 
that circumvention can be dealt with effectively, even where such 
alterations to an article technically transform it into a 
differently designated article. The Commerce Department should 
consider such criteria as the overall physical characteristics of 
the merchandise, the expectations of the ultimate users, the use of 
the merchandise, the channels of marketing and the cost of any 
modification relative to the total value of the imported 
products.\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ See Omnibus Trade Act of 1987, Report of the Senate Finance 
Committee, S. Rep. No. 71, 100th Cong., 1st Sess. 100 (1987).

    In the case of an allegation of a ``minor alteration'' under 
section 781(c) of the Act, it is Commerce's practice to look at the 
five factors listed in the Senate Finance Committee report to determine 
if circumvention exists in a particular case.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ See, e.g., CTL Plate from Canada IDM at Comment 4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Preliminary Determination

    We preliminarily determine that hooked rebar and straight rebar are 
not significantly dissimilar in terms of overall physical 
characteristics of the merchandise, the expectations of the ultimate 
users, the use of the merchandise, channels of marketing, and the 
timing and circumstances under which Deacero exported the hooked rebar. 
We also preliminarily determine that, based on the information 
submitted by Deacero, there is a significant dissimilarity in 
production costs between the hooked rebar and straight rebar. Because 
we find that hooked rebar and straight rebar are not significantly 
dissimilar as regards the first four criteria, and based on the timing 
and circumstances under which Deacero exported the hooked rebar, we 
preliminarily determine that the hooked rebar at issue produced and/or 
exported by Deacero constitutes merchandise ``altered in form or 
appearance in minor respects'' from in-scope merchandise, within the 
meaning of section 781(c)(1) of the Act.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ For additional information, see the Preliminary Decision 
Memorandum.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also, we preliminarily determine there is no evidence on the record 
of this inquiry indicating that other Mexican producers and exporters 
of hooked rebar to the United States are circumventing the AD Order on 
rebar from Mexico. Further, unlike Aluminum Extrusions,\13\ where 
Commerce applied a circumvention finding country-wide, there are no 
arguments or information on the record that demonstrates the need for 
Commerce to extend our preliminary findings to all Mexican 
producers.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ See Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of 
China: Final Affirmative Determination of Circumvention of the 
Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Orders, and Partial 
Rescission, 84 FR 39805 (August 12, 2019) (Aluminum Extrusions), and 
accompanying IDM at 18.
    \14\ For additional information, see the Preliminary Decision 
Memorandum.
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Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 351.225(l)(2) of Commerce's regulations, 
we will direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend 
liquidation of otherwise straight steel concrete reinforcing bar bent 
on one or both ends and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope 
merchandise under the Order that is produced and/or exported to the 
United States by Deacero that are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, 
for consumption on or after October 18, 2019, the date of the 
initiation of this inquiry. Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.225(l)(2), we will 
also instruct CBP to require a cash deposit of estimated duties equal 
to the AD rate in effect for Deacero for each unliquidated entry of 
otherwise straight steel concrete reinforcing bar bent on one or both 
ends and otherwise meeting the description of in-scope merchandise 
under the Order that is produced and/or exported to the United States 
by Deacero on or after October 18, 2019.\15\ The suspension of 
liquidation instructions will remain in effect until further notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ See Steel Concrete Reinforcing Bar from Mexico: Final 
Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2016-2017, 84 FR 
35599 (July 24, 2019).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hooked rebar produced and/or exported by Deacero that has been sold 
in connection with a specific, identified construction project and 
produced according to an engineer's structural design, consistent with 
industry standards, is not subject to this inquiry. However, imports of 
such merchandise are subject to certification requirements, and cash 
deposits may be required if the certification requirements are not 
satisfied. Accordingly, if an importer imports hooked rebar from Mexico 
produced and/or exported by Deacero and claims that the hooked rebar 
has been sold in connection with a specific, identified construction 
project and produced according to an engineer's structural design, 
consistent with industry standards, the importer is required to meet 
the certification and documentation requirements described in 
Appendices II and III, in order for cash deposits pursuant to the 
Mexico rebar order not to be required.

Public Comment

    Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary 
determination of circumvention and may submit case briefs and/or 
written comments within 20 days of the publication of this notice.\16\ 
Interested parties may file rebuttal briefs limited to issues raised in 
the case briefs no later than 10 days after the date on which the case 
briefs are due.\17\ Interested parties may request a hearing within 20 
days of the publication of this notice. Interested parties will be 
notified by Commerce of the location and time of any hearing, if one is 
requested.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ See 19 CFR 351.225(f)(3).
    \17\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notification to Interested Parties

    This affirmative preliminary circumvention determination is in

[[Page 15432]]

accordance with section 781(c) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.225.

    Dated: February 28, 2020.
Jeffrey I. Kessler,
Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.

Appendix I

List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum

I. Summary
II. Background
III. Scope of the Order
IV. Statutory and Regulatory Framework
V. Analysis
A. Whether the Hooked Rebar at Issue Constitutes Merchandise Altered 
in Form or Appearance in Minor Respects
B. Certification Language
VI. Recommendation

Appendix II

Certification Requirements

    If an importer imports otherwise straight rebar bent on one or 
both ends (hooked rebar) from Mexico produced and/or exported by 
Deacero and claims that the hooked rebar has been sold in connection 
with specific, identified construction project and produced 
according to an engineer's structural design, consistent with 
industry standards, the importer is required to complete and 
maintain the importer certification attached hereto as Appendix III 
and all supporting documentation. Where the importer uses a broker 
to facilitate the entry process, the importer should obtain the 
entry number from the broker. Agents of the importer, such as 
brokers, however, are not permitted to make this certification on 
behalf of the importer.
    For shipments and/or entries from October 18, 2019 through March 
29, 2020, if a certification is required, importers should complete 
the required certification within 30 days of the publication of this 
notice in the Federal Register. Accordingly, where appropriate, the 
relevant bullet in the certification should be edited to reflect 
that the certification was completed within the time frame specified 
above. For example, the bullet in the importer certification that 
reads: ``This certification was completed at or prior to the time of 
entry,'' could be edited as follows: ``The imports referenced herein 
entered before March 30, 2020. This certification was completed on 
mm/dd/yyyy, within 30 days of the Federal Register notice 
publication of the preliminary determination of circumvention.'' For 
such entries/shipments, importers have the option to complete a 
blanket certification covering multiple entries/shipments, 
individual certifications for each entry/shipment, or a combination 
thereof.
    For shipments and/or entries on or after March 30, 2020, if a 
certification is required, importers should complete the 
certification at or prior to the date of entry.
    The importer is also required to maintain sufficient 
documentation supporting its certifications. The importer will not 
be required to submit the certifications or supporting documentation 
to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of the entry 
process at this time. However, the importer will be required to 
present the certifications and supporting documentation to Commerce 
and/or CBP, as applicable, upon request by the respective agency. 
Additionally, the claims made in the certifications and any 
supporting documentation are subject to verification by Commerce 
and/or CBP. The importer is required to maintain the certification 
and supporting documentation for the later of: (1) A period of five 
years from the date of entry, or (2) a period of three years after 
the conclusion of any litigation in United States courts regarding 
such entries.
    In the situation where no certification is provided for an 
entry, Commerce intends to instruct CBP to suspend liquidation of 
the entry and collect cash deposits at the rate applicable to 
Deacero.

Appendix III

Importer Certification

    I hereby certify that:
     My name is {IMPORTING COMPANY OFFICIAL'S NAME{time}  
and I am an official of {IMPORTING COMPANY{time} ;
     I have direct personal knowledge of the facts regarding 
the importation into the Customs territory of the United States of 
the otherwise straight rebar bent on one or both ends (hooked rebar) 
from Mexico produced and/or exported by Deacero S.A.P.I. (Deacero) 
that entered under entry number(s), identified below, and which are 
covered by this certification. ``Direct personal knowledge'' for 
purposes of this certification refers to facts in records maintained 
by the importing company in the normal course of its business.
     The hooked rebar covered by this certification was 
produced and/or exported by Deacero.
    If the importer is acting on behalf of the first U.S. customer, 
complete this paragraph:
     The hooked rebar from Mexico produced and/or exported 
by Deacero covered by this certification was imported by {NAME OF 
IMPORTING COMPANY{time}  on behalf of {NAME OF U.S. CUSTOMER{time} , 
located at {ADDRESS OF U.S. CUSTOMER{time} .
     The hooked rebar from Mexico produced and/or exported 
by Deacero covered by this certification was shipped to {NAME OF 
PARTY TO WHOM MERCHANDISE WAS FIRST SHIPPED IN THE UNITED 
STATES{time} , located at {ADDRESS OF SHIPMENT{time} .
     I have personal knowledge of the facts regarding the 
production of hooked rebar from Mexico produced and/or exported by 
Deacero identified below. ``Personal knowledge'' includes facts 
obtained from another party (e.g., correspondence received by the 
importer from the producer regarding the country of manufacture of 
the imported products).
     The hooked rebar from Mexico was produced and/or 
exported by Deacero.
     The imports of hooked rebar have been sold in 
connection with a specific, identified construction project and 
produced according to an engineer's structural design, consistent 
with industry standards.
     This certification applies to the following entries:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Entry summary line                       Invoice line item
            Producer               Entry summary No.       item No.           Invoice No.             No.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     I understand that {NAME OF IMPORTING COMPANY{time}  is 
required to maintain a copy of this certification and sufficient 
documentation supporting this certification (i.e., documents 
maintained in the normal course of business, or documents obtained 
by the certifying party, for example, mill certificates, production 
records, invoices, etc.) for the later of (1) a period of five years 
from the date of entry or (2) a period of three years after the 
conclusion of any litigation in the United States courts regarding 
such entries.
     I understand that {NAME OF IMPORTING COMPANY{time}  is 
required to provide this certification and supporting records, upon 
request, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and/or the 
Department of Commerce (Commerce).
     I understand that the claims made herein, and the 
substantiating documentation, are subject to verification by CBP 
and/or Commerce.
     I understand that failure to maintain the required 
certifications, and/or failure to substantiate the claims made 
herein, and/or failure to allow CBP and/or Commerce to verify the 
claims made herein, may result in a determination that all entries 
to which this certification applies are within the scope of the 
antidumping duty order on steel concrete reinforcing bar from 
Mexico. I understand that such finding could result in:
    [cir] Suspension of liquidation of all unliquidated entries (and 
entries for which liquidation has not become final) for which these 
requirements were not met;
    [cir] the requirement that the importer post applicable 
antidumping duty cash deposits (as appropriate) equal to the rates 
determined by Commerce; and
    [cir] the revocation of {NAME OF IMPORTING COMPANY{time} 's 
privilege to certify future imports of steel concrete reinforcing 
bar from Mexico.

[[Page 15433]]

     I understand that agents of the importer, such as 
brokers, are not permitted to make this certification.
     This certification was completed at or prior to the 
time of entry.
     I am aware that U.S. law (including, but not limited 
to, 18 U.S.C. 1001) imposes criminal sanctions on individuals who 
knowingly and willfully make materially false statements to the U.S. 
government.

Signature
NAME OF COMPANY OFFICIAL
TITLE
DATE

[FR Doc. 2020-05608 Filed 3-17-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P