October 25, 2022

Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations: Certain Freight Rail Couplers and Parts Thereof from China and Mexico

Certain Freight Rail Couplers and Parts Thereof from China and Mexico

On October 18, 2022, the department of Commerce initiated its less-than-fair-value and countervailing duty investigations on “Certain Freight Rail Couplers and Parts Thereof from the People’s Republic of China”. These investigations have been assigned the following case numbers: A-570-145 and C-570-146 (China) A-201-857 (Mexico). 

The Scope of Merchandise covered by these investigations reads as follows:

The scope of these investigations covers certain freight railcar couplers (also known as “fits” or “assemblies”) and parts thereof.  Freight railcar couplers are composed of two main parts, namely knuckles and coupler bodies but may also include other items (e.g., coupler locks, lock lift assemblies, knuckle pins, knuckle throwers, and rotors).  The parts of couplers that are covered by the investigations include:  (1) E coupler bodies, (2) E/F coupler bodies, (3) F coupler bodies, (4) E knuckles, and (5) F knuckles, as set forth by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).  The freight rail coupler parts (i.e., knuckles and coupler bodies) are included within the scope of the investigations when imported separately.  Coupler locks, lock lift assemblies, knuckle pins, knuckle throwers, and rotors are covered merchandise when imported in an assembly but are not covered by the scope when imported separately. 

Subject freight railcar couplers and parts are included within the scope whether finished or unfinished, whether imported individually or with other subject or nonsubject parts, whether assembled or unassembled, whether mounted or unmounted, or if joined with nonsubject merchandise, such as other nonsubject parts or a completed railcar.  Finishing includes, but is not limited to, arc washing, welding, grinding, shot blasting, heat treatment, machining, and assembly of various parts.  When a subject coupler or subject parts are mounted on or to other nonsubject merchandise, such as a railcar, only the coupler or subject parts are covered by the scope.

The finished products covered by the scope of these investigations 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)).

The country of origin for subject couplers and parts thereof, whether fully assembled, unfinished or finished, or attached to a railcar, is the country where the subject coupler parts were cast or forged.  Subject merchandise includes coupler parts as defined above that have been further processed or further assembled, including those coupler parts attached to a railcar in third countries.  Further processing includes, but is not limited to, arc washing, welding, grinding, shot blasting, heat treatment, painting, coating, priming, machining, and assembly of various parts.  The inclusion, attachment, joining, or assembly of nonsubject parts with subject parts or couplers either in the country of manufacture of the in-scope product or in a third country does not remove the subject parts or couplers from the scope.

The couplers that are the subject of these investigations are currently classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) statistical reporting number 8607.30.1000.  Unfinished subject merchandise may also enter under HTSUS statistical reporting number 7326.90.8688.  Subject merchandise attached to finished railcars may also enter under HTSUS statistical reporting numbers 8606.10.0000, 8606.30.0000, 8606.91.0000, 8606.92.0000, 8606.99.0130, 8606.99.0160, or under subheading 9803.00.5000 if imported as an Instrument of International Traffic.  Subject merchandise may also be imported under HTSUS statistical reporting number 7325.99.5000.  These HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes only; the written description of the scope of these investigations is dispositive.

Requirements For Submitting Comments On The Scope Of The Investigations:  

Please be sure to comply with all three requirements established below.

Deadline for Submitting Comments:

Commerce is setting aside a period for interested parties to raise issues regarding product coverage (scope), as announced in the Initiation Notices. If scope comments include factual information (see 19 CFR 351.102(b)(21)), all such factual information should be limited to public information.  Commerce requests that all such comments be filed by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on November 7, 2022, which is 20 calendar days from the signature date of this notice.  Any rebuttal comments, which may include factual information, must be filed by 5:00 p.m. ET on November 17, 2022, which is 10 calendar days after the initial comments deadline.  Commerce requests that any factual information the parties consider relevant to the scope of the investigations be submitted during this time period.  However, if a party subsequently finds that additional factual information pertaining to the scope of the investigations may be relevant, the party may contact Commerce and request permission to submit the additional information.  All such comments must be filed on the records of each of the concurrent AD and CVD investigations identified above.

Required Entry of Appearance:

Parties wishing to participate in this segment and be included on the public service list must file a letter of appearance.  Section 351.103(d)(1) of Commerce’s regulations states that “with the exception of a petitioner filing a petition in an investigation, to be included on the public service list for a particular segment, each interested party must file a letter of appearance.” The letter of appearance must be filed separately from any other document (with the exception of an application for APO access).  Note, the letter of appearance must state how the party qualifies as an interested party (e.g., an exporter, producer, importer of the subject merchandise) and must include a point of contact, including address, telephone/fax number and email address.  If you have an E-Filer account for Enforcement and Compliance’s Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS), you may also enter your appearance by logging into ACCESS and clicking on “Manage Entry of Appearance” and then “Create New Entry of Appearance.” All submissions to Commerce must be filed electronically using ACCESS.  An electronically filed document must be received successfully in its entirety by the time, typically 5 p.m., and date when it is due.  

For your convenience, Commerce has the following resources available online to assist you in complying with these electronic filing procedures:

Required Certifications

Please note that certification requirements are in effect for company / government officials as well as their representatives.  In all segments of antidumping duty or countervailing duty proceedings, parties submitting factual information must adhere to 19 CFR 351.303(g) regarding the requirement to certify submissions of factual information.

Understanding Critical Circumstances for Antidumping and Countervailing Duties

Critical circumstances is a provision in both the antidumping and countervailing duty (AD/CVD) laws that allows for the limited retroactive imposition of duties if certain conditions are met. Importers should be aware that entries of subject merchandise made after the initiation of an AD/CVD investigation may retroactively be subject to AD/CVD.  
A finding of critical circumstances is an important tool for Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to offset possible import surges during the early period of an AD/CVD investigation.  The petitioner in an AD/CVD investigation may allege critical circumstances during an investigation up to 21 days before the date of Commerce’s final determination.  If Commerce makes a determination that critical circumstances exist, it has the statutory authority to order the retroactive suspension of liquidation and posting of a cash deposit for entries made before the issuance of a Preliminary and/or Final AD/CVD determination. 

Commerce’s authority to suspend entries retroactively for AD/CVD is limited to those entries made on or after the later of: (1) 90 days before the effective date the suspension of liquidation was first ordered, or (2) the date on which the determination to initiate the investigation is published in the Federal Register.  In either case, AD/CVD cash deposits are due on entries subject to critical circumstances determinations.

If, following a preliminary determination by Commerce that critical circumstances exist, both Commerce and the ITC reach a final affirmative determination of dumping or subsidization, but either agency makes a negative final determination of critical circumstances, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to lift suspension from the entries made during the 90-day critical circumstances period and refund cash deposits made with respect to those entries.  Interest is not payable on refunds of cash deposits at this stage in the AD/CVD case.

For Further Information Contact:

AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230: Zachary Shaykin at (202) 482-2638 (Antidumping Duty Investigation from China); Jon Hall-Eastman and Samuel Brummitt at (202) 482-1468 and (202)482-7851 (Antidumping Duty Investigation from Mexico; Terre Keaton Stefanova at (202) 482-1280 (Countervailing Duty Investigation from China). 

Determinations related to these proceedings, issued by Commerce and the ITC, will be published in the Federal Register.  Parties may also view Commerce’s public AD/CVD 

instructions to CBP in ACE and “ADD CVD Search” at https://aceservices.cbp.dhs.gov/adcvdweb.

For questions about CBP’s AD/CVD enforcement, see Priority Trade Issue: Antidumping and Countervailing Duties | U.S. Customs and Border Protection (cbp.gov)

Crane Trade Services can assist you with questions regarding this matter.  For assistance please contact CWTSConsulting@craneww.com.

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